Apps

WhatsApp Introduces Helpline in India to Diminish AI-Generated Misinformation, Deepfakes

WhatsApp will soon get an important safety feature that will help users in India avoid misinformation, especially those generated by artificial intelligence (AI), and deepfakes. Meta and the Misinformation Combat Alliance (MCA) announced on Monday that they will soon launch a helpline on WhatsApp where users will be able to report all such instances. The development comes just days after 20 leading tech firms, including Meta, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, pledged to work together to detect and counter harmful AI content ahead of global elections in 2024.

MCA, a cross-industry collaborative organisation focused on eliminating misinformation, partnered with Meta to work on this new safety feature. WhatsApp Helpline will be a chatbot where any user can easily reach out and report a message that is spreading misinformation or is a deepfake. Deepfakes are AI-generated content, mainly in image or video format, that either impersonates another person or manipulates objects and facts to mislead the viewers. Often, such content is made to be hyperrealistic and can instil paranoia and frenzy in large groups.

The MCA will set up a central ‘deepfake analysis unit’ that will work closely with its fact-checking member organisations and will assess and verify each reported message. If the reported content is found to be misinformation or AI-generated deepfake, it will be debunked, and the messages might be deleted. The chatbot will be made available in English and three regional Indian languages, including Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu.

As per the statement, the focus of the initiative is to implement a four-pillar approach of detection, prevention, reporting, and driving awareness. The WhatsApp Helpline is expected to improve accessibility to reliable information and offer a place to verify messages. The feature is said to be available by March 2024.

Meta also runs multiple fact-checking programmes in India and has partnered with 11 independent agencies dedicated to the task and helping users prevent the spread of misinformation on its platforms. On WhatsApp, users already had the option to flag a message to more than 50 IFCN (International Fact-Checking Network) member organisations to verify information. Further, many fact-checking agencies run their WhatsApp Channels that users can follow to find verified and trusted information timely. The instant messaging platform also limits the spread of misinformation by keeping an upper ceiling on forwarded messages.


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