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This article was published on March 18, 2020

WhatsApp launches a rather basic coronavirus information site

WhatsApp launches a rather basic coronavirus information site

The world’s most popular chat app, WhatsApp, has launched a coronavirus-related information center. The company has partnered with the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to create a portal to keep people informed about the COVID-19 outbreak. 

The page will have info regarding how to use WhatsApp during the outbreak. These tips and recommendations are just basic guides on how educators, governments, and health professionals can use different features of the app to communicate better during the outbreak.

The company said the portal will also include info regarding direct messaging hotlines by WHO and UNICEF. These hotlines will be helpful for people seeking information about COVID-19 from trusted sources. Plus, the Facebook-owned app is also working with local governments in countries such as Singapore, Israel, South Africa, Brazil, and Indonesia, to send citizens texts regarding coronavirus.

Will Cathcart, Head of WhatsApp, said the chat app wanted to create an easy resource to access all information related to the pandemic:

 We wanted to provide a simple resource that can help connect people at this time. We are also pleased to be able to partner with the Poynter Institute to help grow the amount of fact-checking organizations on WhatsApp and to support their life-saving work to debunk rumors. We will also continue to work directly with health ministries around the world for them to provide updates right within WhatsApp

WhatsApp is also supporting Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) by providing $1 million grant to support a network of fact-checkers who are part of #CoronaVirusFacts Alliance. The alliance has over 100 organizations across 45 countries.  However, it’s not clear at the moment if there will be any hotline on WhatsApp that lets you check the authenticity of a message.

You can check out the information center here.

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