Mumbai: The world’s largest messaging app, WhatsApp, which has at least 200 million users in India, launched its first ever television campaign. The Facebook-owned company has produced three 60-second video ads focused on educating Indians about the dangers of fake news and spurious forwarded messages.
Created by Taproot Dentsu, ‘Share joy, not rumours’ is the first integrated campaign from WhtasApp in India. The TV ads, which were released earlier this week, come after a publicity blitz by the Facebook-owned messaging service, which started with radio ads and a print campaign.
Fake news has become a life-and-death issue in India lately. Many incidents of violence, including around 25 cases of mob lynching, have been allegedly linked to online rumours.
The company has also come under fire from the Indian government, with the electronics and IT ministry asking it in July to figure out a mechanism to trace problematic forwarded messages.
WhatsApp curtailed the number of times a message could be forwarded. It also clearly indicated the difference between an original and a ‘forwarded’ message. The campaign is a continuation of its efforts to curb fake news on the platform.
The three films in the campaign show a young professional, a cooking obsessed housewife and a student take steps to stop the spread of falsehoods on WhatsApp.
One of the videos tells the story of a young woman who has moved away from home and uses WhatsApp to stay in touch with her family. When her uncle forwards a fake news message on the family group, she calls him to tell him that he should not share such rumours, and convinces him to leave the group from where he sourced the offending message.
WhatsApp’s ads are directed by Mumbai-based filmmaker ShirshaGuhaThaktura.