Checkpoint Tipline, introduced by WhatsApp, is not a helpline number

Date Published: April 8, 2019 Last Updated: April 8, 2019

The new feature introduced by WhatsApp called 'Checkpoint Tipline' is not a helpline number. It is a data-gathering research project which will help WhatsApp understand how misinformation spreads. According to Proto, which is a start-up WhatsApp has partnered with for its Checkpoint Tipline initiative, the service is not a helpline but a research project. However, it is too late for WhatsApp to spot and take actions through this project as the first phase of voting begins from April 11.

  • When the tipline was first introduced by WhatsApp, it said that the users will be able to share their messages to Proto to verify their authenticity.
  • "This combined effort by WhatsApp and industry organisations will help contribute to the safety of the elections, by giving people means to know if the information is verified and deter people from sharing rumours that have no basis in fact," said the company.
  • Proto clarified that "over the next four months, we expect to aggregate these signals at scale, to better understand how misinformation during large events of public interest in India such as the elections spreads across languages, regions, even issues".
  • This means that the project is of no use when it comes to spot and remove misinformation in the upcoming general elections.
  • "Finally, if the new rumour is both within scope, verifiable and prioritised, the verification centre may take up to 24 hours to send back a report," said Proto in its FAQs on its website.
  • A WhatsApp spokesman said the announcement wasn’t meant to imply that every request would receive a response. People can submit misinformation to the “Checkpoint Tipline” at +91-9643-000-888. However, it is too late for WhatsApp to spot and take action on fake news via this project as the first phase of voting begins on April 11.