Two Bengaluru techies bust fake news and spam with Check4spam

Two Bengaluru techies bust fake news and spam with Check4spam

Bengaluru, Feb 18:The Internet is a treasure trove of information and stories. These stories have the power to make you smile with joy, cry (or yell) in frustration, or reaffirm your faith in humanity. But often, they can also fool you. You might think that your intestines are lined with undigested noodles or that Mumbai is the new breeding ground for the Ebola virus. Yet many of them are untrue, and two techies are out to prove it.

Check4Spam, founded by Bal Krishn Birla and Shammas Oliyath, debunks these internet rumours, one post at a time.

It was Shammas, an IBM employee, who came up with the concept in 2015. “I am an avid social media user,” he says. “I realised that so many of the stories circulating on Facebook and Whatsapp were complete hoax. But convincing people can be difficult without proof.”

A string of misleading posts changed his mind, and Shammas picked up a WordPress site and began posting. As a project along with regular work, his posts were initially sporadic. Things picked up when Shammas was joined by Bal Krishn, a self-confessed serial entrepreneur, in 2016.

“We have a few things in common—we are techies, share a love for music (the two have worked together on music projects) and are invested in social causes,” says Bal Krishn. “I take care of the tech issues while Shammas does most of the hard work. Fake news has great impact, particularly among older people who aren’t always as tech savvy. We receive these posts and verify whether they are in fact true.”

Users can share their concerns via WhatsApp, the duo researches it and responds to the queries.

Check4Spam receives over 100 messages per day, and puts up an average of 2 to 3 debunking posts on its website daily.