WhatsApp has been trying extremely hard to prevent the spread of misinformation on its platform for a long time. Right after putting a cap to frequently forwarded messages last month, the Facebook-owned messaging platform has now collaborated with Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) to help users find messages that are fake by directly connecting with the local fact-checkers. Users will just need to send the message and the checkers will review.
IFCN has launched its WhatsApp chatbot that is built to address the spread of misinformation, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative is aimed at connecting people with independent fact-checkers in more than 70 countries including India. With this collaboration, WhatsApp users will also be connected with the largest database of debunked false information related to coronavirus.
With the help of the IFCN’s bot on WhatsApp, users across the world will be able to easily check whether a piece of information related to COVID-19 has been rated as false by professional fact-checkers. The user can submit a piece of information for review directly to its local fact-checker.
The IFCN’s bot provides users with a global directory of fact-checking organizations. It is capable of identifying the user’s country with the help of the mobile country code and then providing them with their closest fact-checking organizations.
IFCN’s bot is free to use. To use it, WhatsApp users will need to save +1 (727) 2912606 as a contact number and text the word ‘hi’ to get the bot started. Users can also click on http://poy.nu/ifcnbot.
For now, the IFCN’s bot will be available only in English, but other languages support including Hindi, Spanish and Portuguese are coming soon.
Last month, WhatsApp launched services to allow users to connect with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and MyGov app of the Government of India for credible information on COVID-19. The platform has also launched similar services with state governments in Delhi (+91 88000 07722), Maharashtra (+91 20 2612 739), Gujarat (+91 74330 00104), Telangana (+91 90006 58658) and Kerala (+91 90722 20183).
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