TechNation: Israeli Researcher Gets Grant From WhatsApp To Study Fake News

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A logo of WhatsApp is pictured on a T-shirt worn by a WhatsApp-Reliance Jio representative during a drive by the two companies to educate users, on the outskirts of Kolkata, India, October 9, 2018.
A logo of WhatsApp is pictured on a T-shirt worn by a WhatsApp-Reliance Jio representative during a drive by the two companies to educate users, on the outskirts of Kolkata, India, October 9, 2018.


Israeli researcher gets grant from WhatsApp to study misinformation

A researcher at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem was one of 20 awarded a combined $1 million from Facebook’s WhatsApp unit to investigate how misinformation spreads on its platform. Selected from more than 600 applicants, the grants come after a call for research about fake news stories, out-of-context photos and rumors on WhatsApp, which have plagued users in countries such as Brazil and India, its largest markets.

Dr. Neta Kligler-Vilenchik, of Hebrew University’s communications and journalism department, is getting $50,000 to work on a research proposal entitled “Talking politics on WhatsApp: How Groups Afford Civil Cross-Cutting Talk.” WhatsApp will not provide any user data to researchers, who are meeting at the company’s Menlo Park, California, headquarters this week for a workshop on how the platform works internally. “These studies will help us build upon recent changes we have made within WhatsApp and support broad education campaigns to help keep people safe,” Mrinalini Rao, lead researcher at WhatsApp, said in a statement.

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