The Fake News trend on Social Media has been there for a while. But, the world really took a notice of the situation during America’s recent Presidential elections where it was alleged that fake stories on Facebook helped tip the balance in a particular candidates’ favour. If you thought, America is the only one suffering from the fake news fiasco, you’re deeply mistaken. The whole trend has actually been plaguing the rest of the world as well and has even entered the largest democracy on Earth, India.
Two Indian techies have decided to control the fake news scenario before it gets out of hand. The Bengaluru duo, Bal Krishn Birla and Shammas Oliyath, have built a website called check4spam.com that will help detect fake messages that are being widely shared on WhatsApp and Facebook. The site checks a particular story/message on the basis of both the research and investigation done by the check4spam team along with some volunteer users.
A self-funded project for now, check4spam is working with a vision of providing unconditional service to humanity. It’s mission is to make life easy for the common man and trouble for the spammers. According to their official website, with check4spam, the duo have taken upon themselves to educate people in India that fall prey to the fake messages on social media, and then end up circulating those messages.
With the internet usage in the country increasing at a rapid pace, it is vital to curb the menace of fake news as soon as possible as many of the internet users in the country find it difficult to differentiate authentic sources to fake or malicious onesies. Further, there are several threats of hoaxes, click bait or Trojan horse-style software built in order to steal /phish information from a user’s device.
The website, check4spam, verified a particular piece of news by:
1. Contacting the person/organization mentioned in the post
2. Doing an extensive search, both online and offline, to find any further fine information about the news
The company has even set up a WhatsApp number wherein people can send in their messages for fact-checks. According to them, they’re currently getting as many as 100 messages a day for verification.
The check4spam.com website, which gets half a million page views a month, supports messages that are text-only, image-only, and contains both text and image. The platform is also crowdsourcing spam message detection by asking social media users to report the spam messages that they find out themselves.
So, if you detect a news, story or message which you think doesn’t add up, you know where to check it now.