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Fake News & Design

A Better Fact-Checking Process on WhatsApp Leveraging Existing Mental-Models.

Visit any Whatsapp group and you'll have several messages that straddle the line of opinion, truth, and fake news.

As someone who cares about steering away from false news and forming an informed opinion, I believe we need to have a sharp system to help us find which forwards are fake and which are not.

And what if I said that all these are as easy as tapping on a message twice? I'll be demonstrating just that in this article.

👈🏼To our left, we have a typical example of what looks like a very compelling message since the timing couldn't be better; the context being the Novel Coronavirus Outbreak.

But is it as altruistic as it seems it is? NOOOOOO

Who to Trust

This is a valid question. Afterall there are hundreds of well-meaning sources of news and many messages without any source references. What do we do?

In the light of the recent fake news epidemic and revelation of how it had impacted the USA presidential election, there's a growing consciousness about setting up a network of fact-checking organizations whose sole job would be to find and bust fake news. Such a network is IFCN or International Fact-Checking Network. The organization is set up by Poynter Insitute which is an Avante Garde in the field of journalism.

The IFCN issue badges to local fact-checking agencies and media houses who meet their standards. They look like these and appear at the footer of a website.

Here's a list of Fact-Checking outlets in India on Wikipedia.

Checking for Fake News

Here's a very simple workflow that is as simple as forwarding your suspicious message to a Fact-checking Whatsapp account like Factly or Vishwas News over Whatsapp. Here's how you do it.

Step 1

Let's get this one-time setup out of the way. This is choosing your choice of fact-checking network. There are many options and some offer fact-checking via WhatsApp itself. My favourite is BoomLive for al India related content checking.

Bring them into your WhatsApp chats by tapping the below button. It's essentially a simple WhatsApp API link to send someone a message without saving their number.

Tapping/clicking on the button opens a chat message with the BoomLive's WhatsApp account without needing to save their number.

Step 2

Forward a suspicious message to BoomLive or your choice of fact-checking site.


They'll send you a reply whether that message you sent them for verification is true or fake.