Saturday, 11 May 2019

Brexit: and the EU elections: countering fake news from WhatsApp

There have been a few problems with the WhatsApp network (owned by Facebook...)...

In India:
WhatsApp launches fact-check service to fight fake news during India polls - Reuters
The WhatsApp election: The fake news challenge to democracy | European Council on Foreign Relations
HSS - India’s WhatsApp election: political parties risk undermining democracy with technology - Queen Mary University of London

In Brazil:
Jair Bolsonaro accused of creating 'criminal network' to spread fake news in Brazil election - Telegraph
Disinformation and fake news spreads over WhatApp ahead of Brazil's presidential election | The Independent
The three types of WhatsApp users getting Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro elected | World news | The Guardian

And now in Europe:
Facebook's plan to protect the European elections comes up short
Is Facebook doing enough to combat fake news? | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 05.05.2019

In response, some steps have been made:
WhatsApp restricts message-sharing to fight fake news - BBC News
WhatsApp warns users of forwarded texts to stop 'deadly fake news' hoaxes - The Sun
WhatsApp is fighting fake news with this helpful new feature - Mirror Online

However, the Avaaz campaign group doesn't think this is enough - in a message sent out today: 

It’s worrying! WhatsApp and other social networks in the UK are being flooded with toxic lies and hate ahead of the European elections - and it could just be the start! But together we can stop those who are trying to manipulate us -- simply by all of us becoming “WhatsApp Detectives” and help find the biggest lies spreading on WhatsApp so we can flag it to them and the media.. And we need you to join us: Click below and send us a WhatsApp message saying “Hi!” and we’ll send you the info you need to help :) +447480800288:

Dear friends in the UK,

Whether it's refugees receiving more MONEY than British pensioners, millions of Turkish people migrating to the UK, or even rumours of a lorry attack in the heart of London's Oxford St.

In Europe, WhatsApp and other social networks are flooded with posts like these, and they have one element in common: they’re completely false!
But together we can stop those who try to manipulate us ahead of the critical European elections in weeks -- simply by all of us becoming “WhatsApp Detectives” and help us find the biggest lies spreading on WhatsApp so we can flag them to the platform and the media.

There are over 1.8 million Avaazers in the UK and if you use Whatsapp, join us now: Just click below and send us a message saying “Hi!”. And we’ll send you any info you might need to help us :) +447480800288

WhatsApp wants to stop the spreading of disinformation and lies and challenge those who spread it, but if nobody notifies them about their existence, they can’t do anything about it.

Extremists are using our social media feeds to scare us, make us angry so we turn against each other - the upcoming European elections could be a key moment where either we let them win or we fight back to protect our democracy.

Click below to help us counter hate before the elections! After you send us a message, you will receive further instructions on how to flag suspicious content. Here’s what you do:
  1. Click on the button below
  2. Send a Hi message and wait for further instructions
  3. Save the number +447480800288 to your address book e.g. as “Avaaz WhatsApp Watch”

The Avaaz team will monitor the number continuously and work together with fact-checkers and partners to investigate the tips that are coming in so we can expose the fakes, report on them and make sure that Whatsapp takes action. Join the WA detectives now:

After 40,000 of us donated, Avaaz put in place a team of over 60 analysts, researchers, journalists and campaigners to fight misinformation and hate messages on social networks. It's been in the media and the platforms are under a lot of pressure. If thousands of us now join the fight, we can defend our democracies.

With hope and determination,
Pascal, Nick, Luca, Martyna, Martin, Anneke, Christoph and everyone at Avaaz.


Spanish WhatsApp users reportedly flooded with ‘disinformation and hate’ ahead of elections (Venture Beat)

Europe’s most hackable election (Politico)

Viral image about pensioners and refugees is wrong on every single number. (Fullfact)

What happened at Oxford Circus? Police explain incident that was initially treated as 'terror' (The Independent)

Media Sunday Express admits '12m Turks coming to UK' story was inaccurate. (The Guardian)

WhatsApp Legal Info
Promoted by N Flynn on behalf of Avaaz Campaigns UK, a company incorporated in England & Wales under company registration #09475510 and whose registered address is at 49-51 East Rd, London N1 6AH.

Avaaz - The World in Action

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