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WHO launches a chatbot interactive service on Facebook Messenger to curb COVID-19 related misinformation

As many people fall prey to misinformation, WHO has launched a chatbot interactive service to assist its users about information related to coronavirus.

twitter-logoYasmin Ahmed | April 16, 2020 | Updated 19:49 IST
(Source: Reuters)

Highlights

  • WHO, to reach a bigger audience has launched a chatbot interactive service on Facebook Messenger.
  • The chatbot can be accessed through WHO’s official Facebook page by tapping on the Send Message option.
  • Alternatively, the user can also use the dedicated messenger link available on the page.

The World Health organisation (WHO) has launched a chatbot interactive service to curb fake news and misinformation on Facebook Messenger.

The chatbot is designed to interact with people and provide them with correct information and timely updates about COVID-19.

A post by WHO on its official website notes that it could reach a much bigger number of people with its Messenger transition.

According to the post, The WHO Health Alert service has already reached 12+ million people via WhatsApp. It also noted that messaging through Facebook's family of apps in many hard-hit COVID-19 regions has increased by 50 percent.

"With this transition into Facebook Messenger, and other communication channels related to it, WHO Health Alert has the potential to reach 4.2 billion people helping people protect themselves from COVID-19, prevent its spread, and understand the facts related to the disease," the post read.

The chatbot interactive service was launched with support from Sprinklr.

The post further notes that the interactive service can be accessed in English, French Spanish and Arabic through WHO's official Facebook page by tapping on the Send Message option.

The user will then receive notifications from messenger about the pandemic. The user can also type in his queries about the same.

Alternatively, the user can also use the dedicated messenger link available on the page to get answers or information related to coronavirus using WHO's Health Alert Interactive Service.
Many social media apps are trying to curb misinformation by either trying to downplay the content which does not seem authentic or by removing it entirely.

The Government of India has teamed up with Whatsapp to come up with a WhatsApp bot called MyGov Corona Helpdesk. WhatsApp users could simply get assistance about their coronavirus queries.

Users are required to send a Namaste or Hi on +919013151515 to get assistance. The information provided here is by the Ministry of Health.

Facebook, too, has taken steps to curb misinformation by hiding or labelling posts that are not authentic. Earlier this week, it announced that it will remove any posts that cause physical harm.

Facebook posts that cause physical harm include those making false claims about cures, treatments or the location and severity of the outbreak.

Twitter removes posts that are false or misinform its users. YouTube downplays content which tends to create conspiracy theories and discourage users to avoid social distancing.


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