Report Justifies Why WhatsApp Needs To Have A ‘Doubt’ Button


Fake news and misinformation are becoming a massive threat and social media platforms are making efforts to combat the same. The instant messaging app WhatsApp is becoming a common platform for the spread of fake news. What's worse is that the spread of fake information on WhatsApp has resulted even in deaths in the country.

Report Justifies Why WhatsApp Needs To Have A ‘Doubt’ Button


In an attempt to put an end to these, the company has taken steps such as limiting the forwards to five conversations, adding the forwarded label, etc. Now, a study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania, IE University, and Leiden University as reported by IANS claims that there should be a button to mark the message as groundless, unreliable or problematic.

WhatsApp-Related Report

The report states that the company can curb the spread of misinformation with two options - a 'like' button similar to than on Facebook and a 'red flag' or '?' button. Users can click on either of these buttons easily. It states that such a strategy will be compatible with the platform that is encrypted. And, WhatsApp will not need to report or investigate the messages that have got red flags.

Basically, these buttons will inform other users that there is a difference in opinion on that specific context. Signaling a doubt is touted to be quite helpful in reducing misinformation. And, it is believed to have implications on both the users and platforms.

The researchers involved in the study have experimentally evaluated the effect of various corrective on-platform messages based on the existence of common rumors and speculations. Researchers involved in the study have analyzed over 5000 social media users in the country. They have come to the conclusion that suggesting a fact check on a message is all set to raise the belief that it could be a false claim.


What We Think

Well, this study only suggests that it could be effective to have buttons to like and raise suspicion on a specific message circulating on WhatsApp. There is no confirmation that the Facebook-owned instant messaging app will enable the same for its users. But it sounds to be a good option and very similar to the suspicious link feature rolled out by WhatsApp a few months back.

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