The Coronavirus pandemic is spreading like a wildfire in the country and so is the misleading information or fake news about the virus. So, in order to tackle this, the Poynter Institute’s International Fact Checking Network (IFCN) has launched a WhatsApp chatbot to dispel rumours around the coronavirus.
The new chatbot provides users with the latest fact checks published by reliable sources and debunks all the myths or misinformation spread on the messaging application. Users can simply ask a question about the virus or one can simply look at the latest fact checks with the help of this chatbot.
Baybars Örsek, director at IFCN, Poynter Institute said that the chatbot is currently available in English, but it will be released in other languages as well. This includes Hindi, Portuguese and Spanish. The company says that with the help of the new chatbot, one can access a global directory of fact-checking organisation and one can search for fact checks by word or phrase. Furthermore, the chatbot uses the mobile country code to detect the country and it then provides regional fact checks about the latest circulating rumours or myths. So, do you use it? The whole process is pretty simple and you need to follow these steps:
Step 1: To use this chatbot, users need to save +1 (727) 29192606 on their smartphone.
Step 2: Once done, you will see the IFCN chatbot on WhatsApp. Users need to send Hi to see the welcome message.
Step 3: In the welcome message, users will be greeted with a set of options to navigate. Users need to send 1 to search for fact checks, 2 for latest fact checks, 3 for tips to fight misinformation, 4 for finding fact-checkers near me, 5 for about us and 6 for privacy.
Search for Fact Checks
The chatbot allows users to search for fact in order to dispel all the rumours. Users can type the keyword or a phrase in order to fact check the information. The chatbot will send topo 2 results from the database. For example, we tested this with a question ‘Drinking hot water can prevent coronavirus?’ and it gave the correct information about the claims is false along with the correct information with a link to the article with it.
Latest Fact Checks
In this section, the chatbot provides 2 recent fact checks in your country. The chatbot reveals that the latest rumours or fake information about the virus and it provides authentic information with a link so that one can easily cross-check the information.
Tips for Misinformation
The chatbot also provides with a list of 6 tips from global fact-checking organization to avoid hoaxes during the pandemic. The tips include resisting the impulse to share, check the source, trust scientists before politicians, beware of emotions, use tools to verify images and video and more.
Find fact-checkers near me
The chatbot also provides a list of organizations that debunks myths, hoaxes and fake information around your area or country. For India, the chatbot reveals that provides 12 such organisations in total. Users can add the chatbot of these organisations or can visit their website to check for the latest fact check regarding coronavirus.