WhatsApp constantly keeps updating its app to provide its users with a smooth messaging experience. But what adds to the panic is misinformation related to the virus. The messaging service has 2 billion users worldwide, after all. In India, the app has 400 million users.
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 fake messages by directly connecting with the local fact-checkers.
By using the IFCN’s bot on WhatsApp, citizens from all over the world will be able to easily check whether a piece of content about COVID-19 has already been rated as false by professional fact-checkers. WhatsApp cares deeply about the safety of their users and they continue to focus on preventing misinformation. If the information you receive sounds suspicious or inaccurate, we encourage you to double-check information with these IFCN Fact Checking Organizations or via the IFCN Fact Checking chatbot.
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. More information search here: faq.whatsapp.com
“Billions of users rely on WhatsApp to stay in touch with their friends and families every month. Since bad actors use every single platform to disseminate falsehoods, to mislead others during such troubling times, fact-checkers’ work is more important than ever. Since January, IFCN’s Coronavirus Facts Alliance has been utilizing the capacity of the fact-checking community to help users to sort truth from fiction by debunking falsehoods around the COVID-19 pandemic. 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.” Ben Supple, Public Policy Manager and Global Election Lead at WhatsApp, said, “There are now more than 40 IFCN-verified fact-checkers around the world that are using the WhatsApp Business app to debunk coronavirus hoaxes for citizens in their respective countries.” Commented by Baybars Orsek, IFCN’s Director.
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