Research Awards to Investigate Misinformation


Whatsapp offers monetary rewards to fund research in the distribution of false information

In order to understand how online platforms are being used to spread misinformation, Whatsapp has announced a competitive set of awards for researchers in related fields. It aims at working with academic experts in India to bring changes in the application that can help prevent the spread of false news.

Correlation of technology and society

The company said that it will provide monetary awards to offer opportunities to execute their research in the chosen field. The set of awards has been reported to be open for research in social science or related disciplines that can develop the understanding of the impact of technology on modern society.

Applicants can be researchers with official experience in online interaction and IT studies, as well as those planning to extend their research in related spheres. The funded research might also have the opportunities of being shared with other social networking applications.

Preferred fields of research

The company said that it looks forward to proposals from any social science and technological outlook that have the potential to advance analysis of misinformation on social networks.

Some of the preferred fields include exploration of social, cognitive, and information processing variables involved in the consumption of content, their relation to the content’s credibility and promotion of the content.

The fields also include understanding the political impact of cross-platform messaging applications. Additionally, studies based on the relationship between digital literacy and vulnerability to misinformation are also being looked out for.

Proposed rewards

The messenger company also intends to comprehend problematic behaviour within principles of encryption. Despite end-to-end encryption system facilitating privacy and security, it is important to follow activities that might distribute hoaxes or false information.

The program has proposed awards of up to $50,000 per selected research. Awardees will be able to hold intellectual property rights to their data and analysis. With these offers, the company aims at developing conceptual tools, gathering and analysing data that can aid the investigation of relevant issues.