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WhatsApp launches IFCN chatbot to contain COVID-19 related misinformation and fake news

WhatsApp launched a chatbot called the IFCN chatbot to curb the spread of misinformation, which is developed by the Poynter Institute's International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN).

twitter-logoAnkita Chakravarti | May 6, 2020 | Updated 10:33 IST

Highlights

  • The messaging app recently launched a chatbot called the IFCN chatbot to curb the spread of misinformation
  • The chatbot is developed by the Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN).
  • The IFCN chatbot on WhatsApp will enable citizens from all over the world to verify content.

The Facebook-owned messaging app, WhatsApp, has really pulled up its socks in its fight against the spread of fake news. From limiting forwarded messages to working on a feature that would verify messages, WhatsApp is doing it all to stop fake news from being circulated on its platform. The messaging app recently launched a chatbot called the IFCN chatbot to curb the spread of misinformation, which is developed by the Poynter Institute's International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN).

The IFCN chatbot on WhatsApp will enable citizens from all over the world to verify whether the message that they received about COVID-19 is true or not. Using the chatbot, the users can see whether that piece of information has been rated false by the professional fact-checker. Poynter institute revealed in a blog that fact-checkers from 74 countries have identified more than 4,000 false messages related to the COVID-19. The database is being updated regularly by the IFCN.

"Hundreds of millions of users rely on WhatsApp to stay in touch with their friends and families every day. 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," IFCN director Baybars Orsek said in a statement.

Here's how users can activate the IFCN chatbot

— Save the number +1 (727) 2912606 and send a text "Hi" from WhatsApp to launch the chatbot.

—The other way of launching the chatbot is by simply clicking on poy.nu/ifcnbot to get started.

The chatbot is currently available in the English language only but it will soon be available in Hindi, Spanish and other languages.

Talking about WhatsApp's collaboration with Poynter's institute, Ben Supple, public policy manager and global election lead at WhatsApp said, "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. 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."

The IFCN's chatbot provides a list of fact-checking organizations across the world. The system will identify the user's country through mobile country code and then share the fact-checking organization of his country. For instance, India's fact-checking partner is Alt News. Users can the websites of fact-checkers to learn about misinformation circulating in their region.

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Tags: WhatsApp | fact
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