With case after case of misinformation, propaganda and fake news attached to its platform leading to death and severe law and order problem across the country, Facebook the owner of WhatsApp has announced research awards to scholars to understand the menace of misinformation.
This comes on the eve of Prime Minister Narendra Modi government sternly asking the company about what action it has taken or planning to take to address the growing cases of its platform being used by people to spread viral fake videos leading to death and law and order problem in different parts of the country.
Like any tech company under the fire, WhatsApp parent firm Facebook has assured the government that it was working on a process to minimize the use of its platform for anti-social activity.,.
Just to allay the fear of different government, the company announced WhatsApp research awards in the area of Social Science and Misinformation.
The company said that it cares deeply about the safety of users. “Through this new project, we look forward to working with leading academic experts in India to learn more about how online platforms are used to spread misinformation. This local research will help us build upon recent changes we have made within WhatsApp and support broad education to help people spot false news and hoaxes,” noted an official statement.
“WhatsApp cares about the safety of our users and is seeking to inform our understanding of the safety problems people encounter on WhatsApp and what more we can do within WhatsApp and in partnership with civil society to address the problem,” said the company.
WhatsApp is commissioning a competitive set of awards to researchers interested in exploring issues that are related to misinformation on WhatsApp. “We welcome proposals from any social science or a related discipline that foster insights into the impact of technology on contemporary society in this problem space,” said the company.
The WhatsApp Research Awards will provide funding for independent research proposals that are designed to be shared with WhatsApp, Facebook, and wider scholarly and policy communities. The company said that these are unrestricted monetary awards that offer investigators the freedom to deepen and extend their existing research portfolio.
WhatsApp is seeking proposals in the area of consumption of content received on WhatsApp; election-related information; network effects and virality; digital literacy and misinformation; and detection of problematic behaviour within encrypted systems.