As India goes to vote at the General Elections in April, WhatsApp launched its second leg of the ‘Share Joy, Not Rumors’ integrated education campaign to encourage the responsible use of its platform.
The first phase of the campaign successfully reached hundreds of millions Indians including both rural and urban areas, and WhatsApp is building on the campaign with a second round focused on supporting a safe election process.
In addition to the earlier TV, print and radio ads, this new “Share Joy, Not Rumors” campaign will educate people on the controls available in WhatsApp so they are empowered to stop the spread of misinformation. The short online videos can be seen on social media platforms and are a step by step tutorial on how to exit a group, block a contact and the significance of the forwarded label. They are available on YouTube.
WhatsApp’s digital literacy partners, including DEF and NASSCOM, will share these videos to grow awareness. The print ads are aimed to act as reminders on how to spot, verify and stop sharing of misinformation that can cause harmful outcomes during the sensitive period of polling.
“Proactively working with the Election Committee and local partners for a safe election is our top priority”, said Abhijit Bose, Head of India, WhatsApp. “Expanding our education campaign to help people easily identify and stop malicious messages is another step towards improving the safety of our users.”
This campaign is one part of a series of actions that need to come together to resolve the underlying societal challenges contributing to misinformation and WhatsApp remains committed to doing its part to ensure that the platform continues to be a safe and private space for personal communication.
WhatsApp has taken several steps since last year to empower its users through education, prevent abuse and partner with Civil society, government and law enforcement in order to address this complex issue. Building on efforts in these three areas is a priority that began with the first public education effort in August, 2018 by running ads in print, on the radio, and working with the Digital Empowerment Foundation to reach community leaders in key states.
Soon, the first phase of the national education campaign of “Share joy, not rumors” was launched, followed by publishing a white paper that explains how WhatsApp bans accounts engaging in bulk messaging and automated behavior to stay ahead of highly-motivated abusers. Most recently, a partnership with the NASSCOM Foundation was kicked off to train college students and volunteers on digital literacy with a focus on first time voters.