Lagos, Nigeria. WhatsApp says the #YouSaid campaign is to educate people on how to verify information they come across before passing it on, to help reduce the spread of false news in Nigeria, which is a threat to the peace of the country/Photo: AfricanCourierMedia

WhatsApp launches Campaign against Fake News in Nigeria

WhatsApp, has announced the launch of #YouSaid, a campaign to educate people on how to verify information they come across before passing it on, to help reduce the spread of false news in Nigeria.

The campaign offers tips for WhatsApp users to spot false news and take responsibility in minimising its spread, by encouraging people to think carefully and check authoritative sources before deciding to share any information with their friends and family, according to a statement.

“At WhatsApp, all personal messages are protected with end-to-end encryption because the safety and security of our users and their messages is important to us,” WhatsApp’s Public Policy Lead, Akua Gyekye said, while commenting on the launch of the campaign.

“While we remain committed to creating a safe space for our users to communicate privately, we encourage everyone to verify any information they receive and confirm whether it is true or false before sharing it with other people.

“Regardless of the person you received the information from, as soon as you share any information, it becomes something people think #YouSaid.

“Our hope is that this campaign will open up a conversation on the importance of verifying information and thinking carefully about what people read, trust and choose to share” Gyekye added.

The statement listed four easy ways to reduce the spread of false news on WhatsApp to include: understanding what a ‘Forwarded’ message means; always fact check information with other sources; looking out for messages that look different; and to read the message objectively.

It explained: “Any message that has the ‘forwarded’ label (an arrow or double arrow icon) did not start with the person who sent it to you.

“They will also have received it from someone else before passing it on to you. If you are not sure the information is true, do not forward it to someone else without verifying it.

“A double arrow icon and “Forwarded many times” label will be displayed when a message has been forwarded more than five times since it was originally sent and will restrict sharing to just one chat at a time.”

The statement added: “False news can go viral, and photos, audio recordings, and videos can be edited to mislead you. If you’re unsure whether a message is true, check trusted news sites to see where the story came from. When a story is reported in multiple places and from trustworthy sources, it’s more likely to be true.

“If you receive messages that have such things like misspelled words, wrong dates, awkward layouts, unrelated pictures and web addresses (URLs), it’s a sign that the information could be false.

“Don’t let what you think you know get in the way of your judgment. Review the facts yourself before sharing information. Stories that seem hard to believe are often untrue.”

4 easy ways to reduce the spread of false news on WhatsApp
  1. Understand what a ‘Forwarded’ message means: Any message that has the ‘forwarded’ label (an arrow or double arrow icon) did not start with the person who sent it to you. They will also have received it from someone else before passing it on to you. If you are not sure the information is true, do not forward it to someone else without verifying it. A double arrow icon and “Forwarded many times” label will be displayed when a message has been forwarded more than five times since it was originally sent and will restrict sharing to just one chat at a time.
  2. Always fact check information with other sources:  False news can go viral, and photos, audio recordings, and videos can be edited to mislead you. If you’re unsure whether a message is true, check trusted news sites to see where the story came from. When a story is reported in multiple places and from trustworthy sources, it’s more likely to be true.
  3. Look out for messages that look different: If you receive messages that have such things like misspelled words, wrong dates, awkward layouts, unrelated pictures and web addresses (URLs), it’s a sign that the information could be false.
  4. Read the message objectively: Don’t let what you think you know get in the way of your judgment. Review the facts yourself before sharing information. Stories that seem hard to believe are often untrue.

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