WhatsApp announced the first initiative to combat fake news: the messenger will offer 20 scholarships of US $ 50 thousand (about R $ 195 thousand, in direct conversion) for studies that seek to avoid the proliferation of rumors. The information was released by the newspaper The State of So Paulo this Tuesday (3) and confirmed by dnetc.
The incentive will be granted to researchers who seek to understand the phenomenon and to find alternatives that hamper the distribution of these messages, without jeopardizing the users' privacy. Among the biggest concerns are counterfeits involving health and elections.
WhatsApp used by 120 million Brazilians Photo: Thssius Veloso / dnetc
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Researchers interested in participating in the scholarship program must submit ideas by 12 August. There are five pillars for studies, as the messenger released:
- Processing of problematic content information.
- Election information.
- Network effects and virality.
- Detection of problematic behavior in encrypted systems.
- Detection of problematic behavior in encrypted systems
Official website cites misinformation as the target of scientific research Photo: Reproduo / dnetc
The company points out that no data from WhatsApp users will be shared with researchers. The documentation also clarifies that all data generated by the research will be the intellectual property of the researchers and does not need to be shared with WhatsApp.
The messenger has been looking for alternatives to avoid the phenomenon of fake news. In early June, the trial version (Beta) of the Android app gained an indicator of shared messages. The label "Forwarded" indicates that the text was not written by the person who is forwarding it.
Experimental edition of WhatsApp (Android) already shows when message forwarded Photo: Paulo Alves / dnetc
One of the obstacles to checking news on WhatsApp is end-to-end encryption. In operation since April 2016, the feature prevents users' messages from being read by people who are not participating in the conversations. Currently, all accounts registered with the service already have the technology.
Most used messaging application in Brazil, with 120 million users in the country, WhatsApp faces problems with the spread of rumors. In a study identified by the Monitor of the Political Debate on the Digital Environment at the University of So Paulo (USP), 1,145 people out of 2,520 interviewed (51%) claimed to have received false news about the death of councilwoman Marielle Franco in March.
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