Facing severe backlash from last few months for the misuse of its platform, Facebook Inc. owned WhatsApp has now launched its first ever TV campaign in India as part of its efforts to address the challenge and consequences of misinformation and pernicious rumors. Earlier, the most popular messaging platform launched two phases of a radio campaign to create awareness among its users. While the first phase of the radio campaign was started on August 29 with ads across 46 radio stations on the All India Radio in states like Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhatisgarh, Utter Pradesh and Rajasthan, the second phase of the campaign on September 5 with radio ads across 83 AIR radio stations in Assam, West Bengal, Tripura, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
Filmmaker Shirsha Guha Thakurta will develop the 60-second ad films that each convey real scenarios about dangerous rumors that can spread like a wildfire among users. Schedules to start just prior to the Assembly elections in Rajasthan and Telangana, the ads will be featured on TV, YouTube and Facebook in the total of nine languages. Bosco Zubiaga who led the production of these films said “We’re humbled by the impact that WhatsApp had on people’s ability to freely connect with their loved ones. We recognise at the same time connecting people can also lead to the spread of misinformation, which has to be confronted.”
The rumor spread of the popular messaging platform which has more than 200 million users in India only have been linked to several lynching incidents in the county, forcing the Indian government to send a strict and stern message to the company regarding this. Although this is a welcoming step from WhatsApp, the results are still to be shown by users.