G9IJA: WhatsApp fights fake news in India using actors who role-play in public. “On a hot morning in India’s tourist mecca of Jaipur, an open truck painted in the signature lime-green colors of Facebook’s WhatsApp messaging service pulls into a dusty lane, where five men spill out and begin to perform a skit. The event is part of a major grassroots effort by WhatsApp to battle fake news, which has triggered numerous lynchings in a country where 200 million people use the service, more than anywhere else in the world.”
Engadget: WhatsApp fixes video call exploit that allowed account hijacks. “WhatsApp owners may have just dodged a bullet. The messaging service has fixed a security flaw that let intruders hijack the app (and thus your account) when you answered an incoming video call in Android or iOS. If an attacker sent a malformed Real-time Transport Protocol packet, it would corrupt the app’s heap memory and open it to attack. Web users weren’t affected, since the browser-based client relies on the WebRTC protocol.”
BuzzFeed News: No One Knows How Bad Fake News Is On WhatsApp, But If Brazil’s Election Is Any Indication, It’s Bad. “A rumor circulating across WhatsApp this weekend had a warning for supporters of Brazil’s far-right presidential candidate, Jair Bolsonaro: Show up to the polling stations wearing any sort of merchandise with his name or face on it, and you will be turned away and unable to vote. This, you see, was part of a coup organized by Brazil’s electoral commission, which doesn’t want Bolsonaro to win. Of course, none of this was true, but that didn’t stop it from being one of the most shared pieces of content in public groups on WhatsApp in Brazil.”
Quartz: Facebook is launching fact-checking tools in Africa—but WhatsApp is its real problem. “The company announced today (Oct. 3) that it would work with independent fact-checking organization Africa Check along with the French news agency AFP to assess news accuracy and stem the flood of misinformation. If a story is identified as false, Facebook will demote them in the news feed and will warn users who try to post those stories. As part of the review and rating process, the company will also share related pieces written by the fact-checking partners immediately below the story in the news feed.”
MakeUseOf: 5 WhatsApp Apps and Extensions You Didn’t Know You Need. “WhatsApp is a fantastic instant messenger, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be better. Whether it’s hiding media from snooping eyes on WhatsApp Web or using two WhatsApp accounts on the same phone, a few apps and extensions can make anything possible.”
Poynter: These fact-checkers were attacked online after partnering with Facebook. “The PDF file is 299 pages long. It has a table of contents, infographics and a statement of intent. And it has extensive details on 40 journalists in Brazil — including archived links and screenshots from each person’s various social media profiles. Then, it uses all of that as evidence to classify how leftist each journalist is.”
BuzzFeed News: How WhatsApp Destroyed A Village. “WhatsApp, a Facebook-owned messaging service, is used by more than 200 million people in India, its largest market. It’s become an inextricable part of the country’s culture and social fabric, widely used by younger and older generations alike. It’s one of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s crown jewels, an app he acquired for $19 billion in 2014 that began as a messaging platform but is now evolving into something more, with a new payments feature already being tested in India. Lately, however, WhatsApp has been getting Indians killed.” This in-depth article contains disturbing graphics/video.