If you’ve been around the Twitter space, then you’ve seen accounts with a blue tick by their names. In the future, all social media platforms may have to implement a similar feature, at least in India. The idea behind it is similar, and that’s to provide a form of identity verification that’s visible to the public.
Reuters reports that the identity verification was included in the latest draft of the country’s Personal Data Protection bill. This detail is claimed to help curb the spread of fake news and online trolling on social media. That said, the step is an optional one for most users. Sources to Reuters also say that parliament is not the passing of the bill is not guaranteed, as the legislation will likely require further review by a panel of experts.
Facebook-owned WhatsApp has already implemented a number of changes to restrict the flow of misinformation. These include limiting the number of times one can forward messages, as well as labeling messages that have been forwarded too often. But Reuters reports that Facebook itself, alongside other social media platforms, are not too keen on the idea. The argument is that it would be difficult for users in many countries to provide sufficient documentation.
It’s fitting that India would be the country to force social media platforms to implement such mechanics. Fake news and rumour mongering had led to over 30 deaths in the country. While the implementation of volutary indentity verification will not eliminate fake accounts, it makes information shared by verified accounts a little more credible.