Whatsapp, one of the world’s most popular instant messaging application, has awarded a $50,000 research grant for study on the use and abuse of of the platform during the 2019 elections.

The international research collaboration put together by Jonathan Fisher and Nic Cheeseman of the University of Birmingham, Idayat Hassan, of the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Abuja and Jamie Hitchen of AREA Consulting, will focus on the governorship elections in Kano and Oyo states in 2019.

The winning project, titled “The use and abuse of WhatsApp in an African election: Nigeria 2019” was among the 20 proposals that won the research awards to be carried in countries where the platform is frequently used, including Nigeria.

“WhatsApp announced the recipients of its $1 million research grants to academics from around the world for the purpose of studying misinformation and its impact on society. Fake news, calls for violence, election-related propaganda and other topics come under the different proposals for which the grants were given,” a statement from Whatsapp read.

“The goal of the research award is to facilitate high quality, external research on a wide range of topics by academics and experts who are in the countries where WhatsApp is frequently used and where there is limited research on the topic.

“Tagged ‘WhatsApp Misinformation and Social Science Research Awards’, approximately 600 proposals were submitted and reviewed with the awardees representing the highest quality projects across several relevant research areas. WhatsApp awarded 20 grants up to $50,000 each to researchers in several countries including Nigeria, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Israel, Mexico, Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, United Kingdom, and United States.”

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