TheInternational Fact-Checking Network (ICFN) on Monday has launched a WhatsApp bot which will be available to mobile users across the globe.
It can be used to make sure they prevent COVID-19 misinformation or fake news from reaching a wider audience.
“The IFCN’s bot has been built to address the challenge of misinformation, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, by connecting people with independent fact-checkers in more than 70 countries and also with the largest database of debunked falsehoods related to the new coronavirus, ” WhatsApp informed.
It says that since January, more than 4000 hoaxes related to coronavirus have been identified by more than 80 fact-checking organisations from 74 countries.
All these details will now form part of the Corona Virus Facts database, which can be accessed through the WhatsApp chatbot by anyone. To sign up for this chatbot, users need to save the numbers +1 (727) 2912606 as a contact on their phoneand thentext saying ‘hi’ on WhatsApp to get the bot started.
“The bot has a very simple, short, and numerical menu. Users will only need to text numbers to navigate through it,” as mentioned in the release.
“The IFCN chatbot will allow users to search for fact checks and get connected with fact-checkers in their countries from their smartphones. The chatbot will also serve as a way to direct people to their local fact-checkers’ websites,” said Baybars Orsek, Director, IFCN.
Initially, the chatbot will support English as the only language, but soon users will be able to engage with it in Hindi, Spanish and even Portuguese. IFCN also says theverified fact-checkers listed in the IFCN bot directory can only see messages sent directly to them, and cannot see, monitor or delete content on WhatsApp as all messages on WhatsApp are private, and protected with end-to-end encryption.
WhatsApp has been diligently working on ways to prevent misinformation spread from its platform. With billions of users accessing WhatsApp through their mobile devices across the globe, the new chatbot is likely serve as a sensible tool to reduce COVID-19 hoaxes from reaching people with ease.
The platform is now supporting up to 8 people on a single video call. This feature is likely to have been added as more people have relied on virtual networking, for work and leisure purpose.