WhatsApp unveils first ever TVC in India, builds on user education

WhatsApp is building on its efforts to educate people about misinformation in India by launching its first-ever television advertisement campaign, called “Share Joy, Not Rumours”. WhatsApp worked closely with Taproot Dentsu and filmmaker Shirsha Guha Thakurta to develop three 60-second films that each convey real scenarios about rumours that have spread on WhatsApp via spam as well as in family and school groups. 

These ads smartly educate people how to use WhatsApp safely and responsibly. Each film’s protagonist teaches someone important in their lives to not spread rumours and to use WhatsApp controls such as the ability to block senders and leave groups where rumours are spread. 

These TV ads are complemented by ads in print and on the radio. 

“WhatsApp has become an integral part of society in India – it’s how I stay in touch with my family and run our film production house. So, this project was special for us at various levels. We, of course, made a WhatsApp group for the project in the name of ‘WhatsApp on WhatsApp’. But WhatsApp is also being misused and can be a source of rumours and it is something that affects us all the time. We created these three films to help address the challenges we face in communicating online,” explained Shirsha Guha Thaktura of Oink Films.

WhatsApp conducted extensive research with users in India and based each film on a real user’s experience. The three films will be available on TV, Facebook, and YouTube in 10 languages to reach the diverse population that makes up WhatsApp users. The advertising campaign is timed to start just prior to the elections in Rajasthan and Telangana and WhatsApp will build on this effort headed into the Lok Sabha elections next year.

“We are humbled by the impact that WhatsApp has on people’s ability to freely connect with their loved ones. At the same time, we recognise that connecting people can also lead to the spread of misinformation, which has to be confronted. We hope this campaign will help educate people how to stay safe on WhatsApp,” said Bosco Zubiaga, who led production of these films for WhatsApp.

Over the last several months, WhatsApp has made a series of changes, including placing a label on forwarded messages to inform users when they have received something not from their immediate contact and a limit on how forwarded messages can be sent. In addition, WhatsApp continues to build on anti-spam detection capabilities to ban accounts that engage in unwanted automated activity.

The three films tell the following stories:

Kavya moved to Delhi and it’s her first time living away from home, so she uses WhatsApp to stay in touch with her family. When her uncle shares fake news with her family, Kavya calls to explains he can leave the group where the rumour came from. 

Rajat is a leader in his University and runs a WhatsApp group for his class. When he receives a shocking message from a classmate, he talks it over with the sender and asks him to think twice before sharing rumours again. 

Geetha is a foodie who uses WhatsApp to stay up to date with local businesses and send recipes to her friend. One day she receives a rumour from an unknown contact so she talks it over with her mom and chooses to block the user that sent the message.


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