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As the 21-day lockdown enters last week, people continue to circulate misinformation about COVID-19 without verifying it.
In one such instance, a message claiming that WhatsApp has introduced a new system to let users know when their messages are landing them in trouble is being widely circulated.
The message has been doing the rounds, quite ironically on WhatsApp itself.
The 'tick' or checkmarks on the app occurs after a message has been sent.A grey tick means the message has been sent, two means delivered and two blue ticks mean the message has been read.
The viral message claims that from now on, three blue ticks will mean that the government has taken note of the message.
Two blue and one red tick mean the government can take action, one blue and two red means the government is "screening your data" and three red ticks mean the government has initiated action against you and you will receive a court summons, the message claims.
WhatsApp has introduced a new system to let users know when their messages are being noted by the government.
The claim is a complete hoax. Press Information Bureau Fact Check, the fact-checking branch from the government of India has unequivocally rubbished the claim on Twitter.
"Messages circulating on Social Media reading 'WhatsApp info regarding √ tick marks' is #FAKE.#PIBFactCheck : No! The Government is doing no such thing. The message is #FAKE," read the tweet.
#Fake News Alert !— PIB Fact Check (@PIBFactCheck) April 7, 2020
Messages circulating on Social Media reading 'WhatsApp info regarding √ tick marks' is #FAKE.#PIBFactCheck : No! The Government is doing no such thing. The message is #FAKE.
Beware of rumours! pic.twitter.com/GAGEnbOLdY
On the WhatsApp's website, there is no mention of any red tick or three ticks anywhere. The website contains a description of all its features and lists all the read receipts explaining each checkmark.
There is a separate section called 'Checking Read Receipts' which lists just three read receipts.
According to this section, the first one shows one checkmark which means message successfully sent. The second one shows two checkmarks which means that the message has been successfully delivered to the recipient's phone. The third one shows two blue ticks which means that the recipient has read the message.
There is also a special mention for group chats which says that the second checkmark appears when all the participants have read the message and the blue checkmarks appear when all the participants in the group have read your message.
All the messages on the app are secured with end to end encryption. Which essentially means that the platform will prevent anybody from reading or secretly modifying the data being shared other than by the true sender and recipient(s). The messages are encrypted by the sender and nobody else can decrypt them. The data is stored in an encrypted format.
WhatsApp is limiting frequently forwarded messages to one chat time in attempts to curb the spread of COVID-19 misinformation.
According to a report by Hindustan Times, the instant messaging application has said the latest change to this feature comes as a part of the company's efforts to curb misinformation on COVID-19.
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