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  • Voltaire Staff

Meta, Misinformation Combat Alliance announce WhatsApp helpline to fight deepfake

Meta is collaborating with the Misinformation Combat Alliance (MCA), to introduce a dedicated fact-checking helpline on WhatsApp in March.

The MCA is a pan industry initiative to combat misinformation through literacy, advocacy, innovation and sustainability.

The helpline will be aimed at countering the spread of deceptive content, particularly deepfake, and give public the access to verified and trustworthy information on critical matters, Meta announced on Monday.

The move comes ahead of elections pending in the coming across countries, including the US and India, where Narendra Modi will be seeking a third straight term.

According to Meta, the fact-checking programme in India involves collaborations with 11 independent fact-checking organisations.

Users can also subscribe to dedicated fact-checking organisations on WhatsApp Channels for verified, accurate, and timely updates.

According to Meta, the collaboration will seek to leverage MCA's network of independent fact-checkers and research organisations to tackle viral misinformation.

Users would be allowed to report deepfakes by sending them to the WhatsApp chatbot, which will provide support in multiple languages, including English, Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu.

The MCA plans to establish a central 'deepfake analysis unit' to handle all incoming messages on the WhatsApp helpline, Meta said.

The unit will collaborate closely with member fact-checking organisations, industry partners, and digital labs to examine and confirm the content's authenticity.

WhatsApp, owned by Meta, is used by millions of Indians and is a major conduit for viral misinformation.

Shivnath Thukral, Director, Public Policy India, Meta said, "We recognize the concerns around AI-generated misinformation and believe combatting this requires concrete and cooperative measures across the industry."

He added, "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."

The 'Tech Accord to Combat Deceptive Use of AI in 2024 Elections' comprises a series of pledges aimed at deploying technology to counter harmful AI-generated content intended to mislead voters.

Meta and other signatories have committed to collaborating on the development of tools to detect and combat the online dissemination of such content.

Bharat Gupta, President, Misinformation Combat Alliance said, "The Deepfakes Analysis Unit (DAU) will serve as a critical and timely intervention to arrest the spread of AI-enabled disinformation among social media and internet users in India. Its formation highlights the collaboration and whole-of-society approach to foster a healthy information ecosystem that the MCA was set up for."



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