In order to connect millions of users with the translated work of over 80 fact-checking organizations across the globe, the Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) has now introduced a chatbot on WhatsApp. With the help of the chatbot, WhatsApp users can easily check whether information related to COVID-19 is a fact or a hoax.
Stressing that as millions of users rely on WhatsApp to stay in touch with their friends and families every day, IFCN director Baybars Orsek said, “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.”
Mind you! Fact-checkers from 74 countries have identified more than 4,000 hoaxes related to the novel coronavirus since January this year. All of this information is compiled in the CoronaVirusFacts database, the backbone of the new WhatsApp chatbot and the largest collaboration of fact-checkers ever. This database is regularly updated by the IFCN so chatbot users can access its most relevant and recent content on their smartphones.
It’s worth mentioning that the chatbot by IFCN is built on the WhatsApp Business API using Turn.io technology, the impact tool for WhatsApp.
Stating that WhatsApp recently provided a grant to Poynter’s IFCN to support the valuable work of its verified signatories around the world in combating COVID-19 misinformation, Ben Supple, public policy manager and global election lead at WhatsApp, said “We are very pleased to now be able to support IFCN’s essential fact-checking work with the launch of this important service for WhatsApp users.”
Moreover, the IFCN’s chatbot also give WhatsApp users access to a global directory of fact-checking organizations. Interestingly, the system identifies the user’s country through the mobile country code and accordingly shares the nearest fact-checking organizations. Notably, anyone can submit information for review directly to local fact-checkers or visit their website to learn more about misinformation circulating in the region.
If you are wondering how you can gain access to IFCN’s free chatbot on WhatsApp, simply save +1 (727) 2912606 as a contact number and text the word “hi” to launch the chatbot. Besides this, the instant-messaging app users can also click poy.nu/ifcnbot to get started. The chatbot has a simple, short and numerical menu where users only need to text numbers to navigate it.
Currently, the IFCN’s chatbot for WhatsApp users is be available only in English but soon it can be accessed in Hindi and Spanish too, a press statement revealed.