The first phase of the campaign was kickstarted ahead of the recent state elections in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Prfadesh, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Telangana, and will continue till January 10
World’s largest messaging platform WhatsApp has spent around Rs 120 crore over the past five months to combat the fake news menace in India, The Economic Times has reported citing media space buyers.
The Facebook-owned unit has been accused of being a carrier of hate messages and rumours that incited mob violence in various parts of the country.
Considering this, the government warned WhatsApp to take strict action against circulation of such false information. This prompted the company to launch several measures to crack down on spread of fake content.
Under this, the messaging platform launched an advertising campaign — an exercise launched first anywhere in the world — to make aware people against sharing suspicious content that could incite hatred.
The first phase of the campaign was kickstarted ahead of the recent state elections conducted in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Prfadesh, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Telangana, and will run till January 10.
Although the amount spent on the advertising was not confirmed by the company, it said it has made a “significant investment to run this campaign across the country”, the report suggested quoting a company spokesperson.
Advertisements have been launched in 10 regional languages with an aim to reach a large number of users. “We hope to reach our expansive user base, which is also why we launched the ads in 10 regional languages. The ads we have already run were designed to reach 100 million people in cities and remote areas of India,” the spokesperson said.
WhatsApp has at least 200 million users in India.
The amount of money spend on advertisements is expected to increase, as the second phase of the ad campaign is scheduled to be launched ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, in March-end. The general elections are likely to be held in April-May.
“The amount spent on mass media advertising could go higher as the campaign is still continuing,” a media agency executive was quoted as saying.In other measures, WhatsApp has named a grievance officer for India and announced the appointment of an India head — a first for the country that accounts for most users across the world. It has also launched a label that identifies forwarded messages and barred forwarding of messages to more than five people at one go.