- A viral message claims that WhatsApp has introduced a new system
- The government has rubbished the claims as fake news
- Centre has stepped up efforts to counter fake news during COVID-19 crisis
While many across the country are trying to make the most of their downtime during the ongoing nationwide lockdown, there are those who are using the opportunity to spread misinformation.
A viral message circulating on social networks and instant messaging applications claims that WhatsApp has introduced a new system to let users know when their messages are landing them in trouble.
Most WhatsApp users are aware of the system of "ticks" or check marks on the instant messaging app - a grey tick means the message has been sent, two means delivered and two blue ticks mean the message has been read.
However, a message being widely shared in some circles claims that from now on, three blue ticks will mean that the government has taken note of your message.
Two blue and one red ticks means the government can take action, one blue and two red means the government is "screening your data" and three red ticks mean the government has initiated action against you and you will receive court summons, the message claims.
This is not correct.
The government on Tuesday posted a message on Twitter unequivocally rubbishing the claim.
#Fake News Alert !— PIB Fact Check (@PIBFactCheck) April 7, 2020
Messages circulating on Social Media reading 'WhatsApp info regarding √ tick marks' is #FAKE.#PIBFactCheck : No! The Government is doing no such thing. The message is #FAKE.
Beware of rumours! pic.twitter.com/GAGEnbOLdY
The government has stepped up efforts to counter misinformation during the ongoing coronavirus crisis and fake messages and videos circulating online have been the subject of investigation.
Last month, the Delhi police said that it had uncovered a concerted misinformation campaign that poses a serious challenge to the government's efforts to contain the ongoing pandemic.
Since many people are staying at home due to the lockdowns imposed in several countries including India, WhatsApp forwards have increased to new levels.
To limit the circulation of fake news and misinformation through its platform, WhatsApp on Tuesday narrowed down the limit of frequently forwarded messages to one chat at a time.