WhatsApp is considered as one of the most reliable and easiest ways of communicating with anyone in the world. More than 1.5 billion people in 180 countries use WhatsApp to stay in touch with each other. There are many positive sides to WhatsApp – like, we can easily send audios, videos, texts to anyone at any time. Also, through WhatsApp, any message can be spread worldwide in minutes. The spread of these messages can be dangerous at times too. This happens when rumours are spread that causes violence to break out as happened in India recently.
WhatsApp has also become one of the top social platforms to spread fake news. Due to a fake messages spread through WhatsApp, a number of people were killed due to mob lynchings. WhatsApp, after being warned by the Indian government, in the wake of the incident has rushed to effect changes. Now, it was revealed that it has decided to hire independent researchers to study how misinformation and propaganda are spread across the platform and find a solution. The researcher will be awarded $50,000.
“For this first phase of our program, WhatsApp is commissioning a competitive set of awards to researchers interested in exploring issues that are related to misinformation on WhatsApp. The WhatsApp Research Awards will provide funding for independent research proposals that are designed to be shared with WhatsApp, Facebook, and wider scholarly and policy communities,” announced WhatsApp.
The criteria provided to get enrolled in the program is to develop conceptual tools, gather and analyze data, and investigate relevant issues.
“Each awardee will retain all intellectual property rights to their data analyses. WhatsApp staff may provide guidance, but investigators are responsible for carrying out the scope of work,” said a WhatsApp Research Awards for Social Science and Misinformation.
It specifies about the eligibility criteria of the required researcher and expectations from participants. It also discussed the two days workshop in Menlo Park, California. The last date for applying is August 12.
The government recently asked WhatsApp to take immediate actions to deal with this problem and stop these activities.