WhatsApp Teams Up With WHO To Curb Misinformation Related To Covid-19
The outbreak of the global pandemic has caused panic and anxiety all over the world. More than panic, there is a lot of misinformation about the virus. It has become very common to circulate fake news on WhatsApp. The messaging service has 2 billion users worldwide, after all. In India, the app has 400 million users. WhatsApp is doing its bit in order to curb misinformation and stop panic among its users.
It has teamed up with the World Health Organisation which has brought in a chatbot called World Health Organisation chatbot. WHO chatbot shares only verified information so that users have access to authentic news. The chatbot reportedly provides information related to the pandemic and guidance to its users. Users can use this chatbot to check the latest numbers and to get tips related to the pandemic. Users can also access tools like frequently asked questions (FAQs), myth-busters, travel advice, latest news and links for donation. Users can send a Hi’ to +41798931892 after saving the number to their contacts.
WhatsApp has also joined hands with the Government of India to share authentic information. The WhatsApp bot, called MyGov Corona Helpdesk is designed to share authentic information and bust myths. PM Narendra Modi shared the WhatsApp helpline number to get information and clear myths on coronavirus. The number is 9013151515. To get any information on coronavirus, all you need to do is send a ‘Namaste’ to this number on WhatsApp. The bot was reportedly built by Haptik Technologies, which Reliance Jio had acquired last year and the information is being provided by the Ministry of Health. WhatsApp is also working on a feature called Search Messages on the Web, which enabled users to check the authenticity of frequently forwarded messages. In order to use this feature, the user needs to click on the message which they want to check online. After they do this, a search button will appear.
After tapping on that icon, WhatsApp will present the user with a pop-up, “Would you like to search this on the web? This will upload the message on Google.” If the user clicks on the “Search web” option, a Google window with the WhatsApp forward will appear. From this, the user will be able to verify if the information on the forward is correct or not.
Recently, WhatsApp unveiled a grant of $1 million to curb misinformation to the Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN). The grant will reportedly help in fact checking for the #CoronaVirusFacts Alliance, which spans more than 100 local organizations in at least 45 countries.