This WhatsApp bot will debunk COVID-19 hoaxes

May 6, 2020

A new way of fighting fake news.

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic that’s sweeping the world at the moment, social media has become the main platform in spreading official news about the outbreak. While that’s a big advantage compared to the last big pandemic that we went through, the abundance of fake news and hoaxes have also started to spread. This is, unfortunately, being shared by users who aren’t aware of its legitimacy.

This is why the Poynter International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) has launched a WhatsApp chatbot that lets you check if the news you’ve got is real or not. The bot cross-references various questions and then sources out information from more than 100 fact-checkers to let you know a news item is genuine.

WhatsApp has also officially endorsed the IFCN chatbot, and since it is on a common platform, you don’t need to install any additional app or software. You can get access to the chatbot on literally any platform that WhatsApp is available: iOS, Android, Windows, and even Mac. The chatbot is initially available in English, but WhatsApp will make the tool available in Hindi, Portuguese, and Spanish.

To access the IFCN WhatsApp chatbot, do the following:

Open this link from your smartphone and confirm that it will open WhatsApp.

From there, you can add the phone number +1 (727) 2912606 to your phone book which is the number for IFCN.

Start a conversation by sending ‘Hi’ on the chat window. Make sure it starts with a capital ‘H’ to get an immediate response.

You will then get a choice on what information you would like to know. You can try pressing ‘1’ to do a fact check on a certain news item.

You can then reply with a question or keyword related to the topic and the bot will return related information.

by Victor
Tech Enthusiast and Movie Buff.