Fake News? Fact-check it: In India, there are 10 independent fact-checking organizations on WhatsApp that help users to identify, review, verify information and help prevent the spread of misinformation on its platform. The tiplines act as an effective source for verifying potentially misleading content including photos, videos, and even voice recordings that might be false and are available in English and 11 Indian languages. Safer Internet Day is right around the corner and with this year’s theme being “Want to talk about it? Making space for conversations about life online”, WhatsApp is talking about the importance of digital safety, and in an effort to raise awareness around safety tools and product features that empower people to take control of their safety is releasing a guide to safe and private messaging.
From how to spot scams, misinformation to safeguarding personal information, WhatsApp’s user guide hopes to drive conversations around online issues and offer simple yet effective solutions that help keep everyone safe, as we spend more waking hours online or on our phones.
Keep personal details private: We transact within the online world daily and thus protecting our personal information and privacy is essential when using the internet. Avoid sharing sensitive information such as your address, phone number, passwords, credit/ debit card numbers, and bank account information. On WhatsApp, users can control their personal details such as - Profile Photo, Last Seen, Online status, About, Status, and who sees it - everyone, contacts only, select contacts, or no one. You can also control your online presence by selecting who can and can’t see when you’re online, for the times you want to keep your online presence private.
Add a layer of security to safeguard your account: WhatsApp allows users to add an extra layer of security to their account by enabling the Two-Step Verification feature, which requires a six-digit PIN when resetting and verifying your WhatsApp account. This is helpful in case a SIM card gets stolen or if the phone is compromised.
Break the forward chain: WhatsApp has created a label for all forwarded messages and limits the number of times you can forward messages as a way to encourage users to reconsider before sharing. Recently WhatsApp has also introduced new group forwarding limits where messages that have the "forwarded label" can only be forwarded to one group at a time, rather than five. So, if you are not sure of the source of a message, don’t forward it.
Spot scams and report them: The Internet is privy to spam messages, cyber threats, and fraud, be it a job offer, winning a cash prize, or fully sponsored trips. These messages often include links to a website or request access to personal information with disguised malware. Unlike traditional SMS or other platforms, WhatsApp provides a simple way for users to take action when you receive such messages by Simply long-pressing the message to ‘block and report’ the account to WhatsApp.