MCA, Meta partner to launch fact-checking helpline on WhatsApp in India

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New Delhi, Feb 19 (IANS) The Misinformation Combat Alliance (MCA) on Monday said that it has collaborated with Meta (formerly Facebook) to launch a dedicated fact-checking helpline on WhatsApp in India in an effort to combat media generated using artificial intelligence (AI).

The helpline will be available for the public to use in March this year.

The initiative will allow MCA and its associated network to address viral misinformation — particularly deepfakes.

The MCA will set up a central ‘Deepfake Analysis Unit’ (DAU) to manage all inbound messages they receive on the WhatsApp helpline.

“The Deepfakes Analysis Unit will serve as a critical and timely intervention to arrest the spread of AI-enabled disinformation among social media and internet users in India,” Bharat Gupta, President, Misinformation Combat Alliance, said in a statement.

“The initiative will see IFCN signatory fact-checkers, journalists, civic tech professionals, research labs and forensic experts come together, with Meta’s support,” he added.

People will be able to report deepfakes by forwarding them to the WhatsApp chatbot, which will provide multilingual support in English and three regional languages — Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu.

“Our collaboration with MCA to launch a WhatsApp helpline dedicated to debunking deepfakes that can materially deceive people is consistent with our pledge under the Tech Accord to Combat Deceptive Use of AI in 2024 Elections,” said Shivnath Thukral, Director, Public Policy India, Meta.

Meta’s fact-checking programme in India includes partnerships with 11 independent fact-checking organisations that help users to identify, review, verify information and help prevent the spread of misinformation on its platforms.

MCA is a cross-industry alliance bringing companies, organisations, institutions, industry associations and entities together to collectively fight misinformation and its impact.



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