At over 200 million users, India is WhatsApp’s largest market in the world. The penetration and adoption of the messaging platform has often resulted in several incidents of violence and deaths that have been fuelled by the rumours circulating on WhatsApp.
Earlier this month, the messaging-app announced a total research grant of $1 million to twenty teams from eleven countries to investigate the problem of fake news, misinformation and safety issues on the platform. Several Indians are part of teams that have been awarded the grant of $50,000 each.
According to WhatsApp, it had received over 600 proposals to study misinformation from India, Brazil, Indonesia, Israel, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Singapore, Spain, United Kingdom, and the United States.
The Quint spoke with three of the winners who explained why India presents unique challenges, and the ways in which misinformation can be tackled. Localised fake news reports, which have triggered lynchings from Maharashtra to Assam, is among the most serious issues for the Facebook-owned messaging app.
Amrita Chaudhury (Director and President, CCAOI) and Vineet Kumar (Founder, Cyber Peace Foundation)
Research: Digital literacy and impact of misinformation on emerging digital societies
PN Vasanti (Director, Centre for Media Studies)
Research: Seeing is Believing: Is Video Modality More Powerful in Spreading Fake News?
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