Leading up to the 2019 General Elections, WhatsApp and NASSCOM Foundation — the social arm of the industry body, National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) – have come together to impart digital literacy trainings to help tackle the challenge of misinformation.
This partnership aims to reach approximately 100,000 Indians with trainings to spot false information and provide tips & tricks to stay safe on WhatsApp.
The co-created curriculum encourages people to be mindful about forwarding rumors. The trainings will include real-world anecdotes, tools that can be used to verify a forward and actions users can take like reporting problematic content to fact checkers and Law Enforcement. The curriculum will be disseminated in multiple regional languages to address the diversity of India.
The first training will be on 27th March in Delhi with volunteers followed by many more planned interventions like hosting training workshops for representatives from rural and urban along with roadshows across numerous colleges. NASSCOM Foundation will activate its large volunteer base to launch the ‘Each One Teach Three’ campaign that mandates every volunteer to share their learnings with three more persons leading to a network effect. These volunteers will post their takeaways from the workshops on their social media handles to increase the reach of these safety messages.
Ashok Pamidi, CEO, NASSCOM Foundation, said, “The use of technology platforms like WhatsApp are inherently meant to foster social good, harmony, and collaboration, but are sadly being used by a small number of miscreants to entice anger and hatred by spreading false and doctored information. Through this partnership with WhatsApp, we hope to enable all of India’s connected citizens to identify a piece of probable fake information while also sensitizing them on the possible impact of its further amplification.”
Recognizing the part volunteers will play in the success of the initiative, Ashok further added, “I would like to urge all the connected citizens who want to join this fight against the spread of fake information, to come and help volunteer towards the cause.”
Abhijit Bose, Head of India, WhatsApp, said, “We are excited to expand our partnerships with civil society to advance crucial digital literacy skills that can help combat misinformation share on WhatsApp. This training educates people throughout India to be mindful of the messages they receive and to verify the facts before forwarding.”
The partnership will strive to make sure that the connected citizens – especially first time digital users that are trained at the Foundation’s centres become more resilient against sharing of misinformation.