Facebook-owned WhatsApp on Wednesday launched 'Coronavirus Information Hub' to keep people informed about Covid-19. The company has taken this initiative in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
"The WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub will provide simple, actionable guidance for health workers, educators, community leaders, non-profits, local governments and local businesses that rely on WhatsApp to communicate," the company said in a press release.
The chat app also donated a $1 million to the Poynter Institute's International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) to help curb misinformation on coronavirus. The grant will support training to use the advanced features within WhatsApp business, including application program interface (API), it said.
The firm will also offer general tips and resources for users around the world to reduce the spread of rumours and connect with accurate health information, it added.
Commenting on the development, Will Cathcart, Head of WhatsApp said, "We know that our users are reaching out on WhatsApp more than ever at this time of crisis, whether it's to friends and loved ones, doctors to patients, or teachers to students. 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 organisations on WhatsApp and to support their life saving work to debunk rumours. We will also continue to work directly with health ministries around the world for them to provide updates right within WhatsApp," Cathcart added.
The grant will support fact-checking for the coronavirus Facts Alliance, which spans more than 100 local organisations in at least 45 countries. Expanding the presence of these IFCN certified fact-checking organisations will help ensure local communities are aware and responding to potential harmful rumours, WhatsApp said.
By Chitranjan Kumar