Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checkers Network (IFCN) is launching a bot on WhatsApp to curb fake information related to coronavirus. The bot’s aim is to let people quickly check myths about the disease in 70 countries.
IFCN said 80 fact-checking organizations from 74 countries have identified more than 4,000 coronavirus-related hoaxes since January. The new bot makes it easier for you to search through these myth-busters. You can search for terms like “Masks” or “Garlic” to get related fact-checks.
Here’s how you can use it:
- Save +1 (727) 2912606 as a contact or click on http://poy.nu/ifcnbot.
- Send a “hi”.
- Press 1 to search for facts based on keywords, or press 2 to search for the latest myth busts.
You can even get information about fact-checkers near you to contact them about possible hoaxes.
IFCN’s Director, Baybars Orsek, said apart from helping people search for facts, the bot will also redirect them to the local fact-checkers’ websites:
Since January, IFCN’s CoronavirusFacts 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.
Notably, this isn’t a tipline where you can report about misinformative pieces, but this will surely help you go through existing coronavirus myths a lot quicker.
In March, WhatsApp provided a $1 million grant to the Poynter Institute to help it with the #CoronaVirusFacts Alliance. It also launched a bot with the World Health Organization (WHO) to provide the latest information to people all around the world.