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A WhatsApp bot by Poynter Institute will fact-check COVID-19 information for users


After Facebook, the company behind the wildly popular WhatsApp Messenger, provided the non-profit Poynter Institute with a $1 million grant to go towards the latter’s CoronaVirusFacts Alliance, Poynter is now launching a WhatsApp bot that aims to let users fact-check coronavirus claims.

As reported by TNW, 80 fact-checking organizations from 74 countries have already helped identify over 4,000 COVID-19 hoaxes since the beginning of this year.

The bot can be reached by saving +1 (727) 2912606 as a contact, or alternatively, opening the following page: http://poy.nu/ifcnbot

After saying “hi”, users can press 1 to search for keywords, such as “masks” or press 2 to search trough the latest myths that have been busted.

Last month, WhatsApp owner Facebook reported that the messenger app has reached significant success in fighting viral misinformation, with frequently forwarded messages, that could often be misinformation being spread, going down by 70% globally. This was the result of WhatsApp imposing a limit on forwarding messages to only one chat at a time.

Earlier, Facebook itself partnered with the World Health Organization (WHO) to introduce a similar chatbot-like service to its Facebook Messenger app, which too can inform Messenger users on COVID-19 facts and news.

Facebook noted that WHO will be leveraging Messenger’s reach to more than 1.3 billion monthly users, who can now take advantage of this simple, helpful service. The company also points out that in regions most affected by COVID-19, use of Facebook’s apps (WhatsApp being one) has increased by over 50%.



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