WhatsApp, one of the leading messaging apps, has over 2.50 billion active users globally. It ranks at the first position in the list of the most downloaded apps across the globe. While it is a great app for communicating with family and friends, it can spread fake information.
The spread of false information has risen amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This led WhatsApp to launch several new features to prevent the spread of fake rumors and news. This article will guide you on the ways to identify and report fake WhatsApp messages.
As a first step, you need to inform the DoT and report a complaint so that strict actions can be taken immediately.
The Department of Telecom or DoT gets complaints against people who send threatening and abusive messages on WhatsApp. The telecom operators and police department heads work on the complaint to take the necessary action.
An order issued on February 19, 2019, said that telecom service operators have to take instant action against a person who has been abusing social media privileges by sending offensive messages.
Sending fake or offensive messages on WhatsApp or another social networking site will be considered an act of violation of customer declaration in the form of a customer application. If you are receiving unwanted or offensive messages on WhatsApp, report DoT immediately.
How to Report a Complaint at DoT?
Capture a screenshot of the specific message along with its content. Email the taken screenshots along with the WhatsApp number of the sender/offender to [email protected]. You can also report a group or a contact from their profile details by clicking ‘Report group’ or ‘Report contact’.
You can export text messages from iPhone to PDF for court if you receive any offensive or derogatory messages from anyone. This is all you can do on your end when finding yourself a victim of any threatening, offensive, or vulgar content.
Ways to Identify Fake WhatsApp Messages
- Check Forwarded Tag
Look for the ‘Forwarded’ tag to determine if the message was originally received from someone else or your near or dear ones composed it. A message will be highlighted as a ‘frequently forwarded message’ with the double arrow icon if it is forwarded over five times.
The forwarded tag doesn’t show how often it has been forwarded over and who has been included in the loop. Seeing this tag doesn’t mean that the message is fake. If you are unsure about the fakeness of a message, confirm the news from trusted sources.
- Use Group Privacy Settings
This privacy setting can be used to prevent people from adding you to any unknown group with strange members. To use this setting, access Settings in WhatsApp and click Account. Tap Privacy and then click Groups.
Choose one of the available options – My Contacts, Everyone, or Nobody. Selecting My Contacts means people from your contact can add you to groups. Everyone means you provide access to every person while Nobody means your approval is essential to add you to any group.
- Identify Message Carefully
The message whether it is videos, text, photos, or audio recordings can be edited to change the context and mislead receivers. See if the message looks different from others like irrelevant website links, spelling mistakes, grammar errors, etc.
To ensure the reality of the news, you can type related keywords in Google or do a reverse Google image search. False messages from unauthorized third parties can come in the form of phishing, hoax, and spam messages. If you get these messages, block the sender, and delete the message.
- Verify Message Before Forwarding
As discussed above, the forwarded message doesn’t certainly ensure the reliability of the message. So, verify the received message before forwarding it further. The forwarded message can be dangerous, misleading, or useful. So, confirm the facts first.
To verify the message, you can search for the received information online. Check the news on television, ask fact-checkers, or see reliable news websites if you are not sure if the information is true.
- Try Fact-Checking Services
You can also use the Fact Checking services to verify messages on WhatsApp. Share the susceptible text, video, image, or other types of messages on WhatsApp by sending it to a specified number.
Your request for fact-checking will be delivered to the Fact Check Team. You will receive the report after some time. You can determine whether the message is fake or real through a report or by clicking on the mentioned link.
Different types of content circulate across WhatsApp and other social media channels. Political fake news aimed to cause religious violence is highly common. Apart from this, various types of fake messages are forwarded on the platform.
It is up to the users whether to believe it or not. Confirm whether the messages you are receiving are verified or are just a trap to spread negativity among people. Practice the above-mentioned tips to safely identify and report offensive or fake messages on WhatsApp.