WhatsApp on Wednesday launched ‘YouSaid,’ a campaign that educates people on how to verify information and reduce the spread of false news in Nigeria.

WhatsApp in a statement said that the campaign offers tips for users to spot false news and take responsibility in minimising its spread.

It noted that users could do this by encouraging people to think carefully and check authoritative sources before deciding to share any information with their friends and family.

Akua Gyekye, WhatsApp Public Policy Lead said: “At WhatsApp, all personal messages are protected with end-to-end encryption because the safety and security of our users and their messages is important to us.

Gyekye said that while WhatsApp remained committed to creating a safe space for its users to communicate privately, people were encouraged to verify any information they receive by confirming if it was true before sharing it with other people.

“Regardless of the person you received the information from, as soon as you share, it becomes something people think ‘YouSaid’.

“Our hope is that this campaign will open up a conversation on the importance of verifying information and thinking carefully about what people read, trust and choose to share” Gyekye added.

The official said there were four easy ways to reduce the spread of false news on WhatsApp

Gyekye said the first one was to
understand what a ‘Forwarded’ message meant.

The official said that any message that had the ‘forwarded’ label (an arrow or double arrow icon) did not start with the person who sent it to you.

Gyekye said the person also received it from someone before passing it on to you, noting that if users were not sure the information was true, it should not be sent to another person without verifying it.

“Always factcheck information with other sources: False news can go viral, and photos, audio recordings, and videos can be edited to mislead you.

“If you are unsure whether a message is true, check trusted news sites to see where the story came from. When a story is reported in multiple places and from trustworthy sources, it’s more likely to be true.

“The third one is to look out for messages that look different, If you receive messages that have misspelled words, wrong dates, awkward layouts, unrelated pictures and web addresses (URLs), it’s a sign that the information could be false,” Gyekye said.

The official noted that the last one was to read the message objectively, adding that users should not let what they know get in the way of their judgment.

Gyekye said it was necessary to review facts oneself before sharing information, noting that stories that seem hard to believe are often untrue.

The WhatsApp official noted that today the app protects the personal communication of over two billion users all over the world, securing it with end-to-end encryption by default.