Battling with multiple perception crises at the public and government level, WhatsApp India has launched an ambitious television ad campaign to "fight fake news" and to execute a visible makeover of its image.
The television push by the Facebook-owned social media messaging platform WhatsApp would be next in the list of its public engagement after print advertisements and radio publicity.
"The three films will be available on TV, Facebook, and YouTube in nine languages and reach the diverse population that makes up WhatsApp users. The campaign is timed to start just prior to the elections in Rajasthan and Telangana and WhatsApp will build on this effort headed into the national election next year", a release by WhatsApp read.
The social media giant has rolled out the television campaign in almost all major regional languages of India apart from English and Hindi. The regional languages include Bengali, Kannada, Telugu, Assamese, Gujarati, Marathi and Malayalam.
In a global first, @Facebook's @WhatsApp is running TV ads to prevent fake news in India. Get the details: https://t.co/KVV9NqXD1b #nonprofit #news #socialmedia #AllThingsSocial pic.twitter.com/Cm4Gv33ztk— Jeff Patrick/COHORT3 & All Things Newsletters (@Jeff_COHORT3) December 3, 2018
WhatsApp has claimed that it has conducted extensive research with users in India before developing the three ad films that are based on a real user's experience. It added that in each film, the protagonist teaches someone important in their lives to not spread rumours and to use WhatsApp controls such as the ability to leave groups that could be propagating misinformation and how to block unknown senders.
WhatsApp in India has already been given two notices by the Indian IT ministry this year for failing to check rumours spreading through its platform.