A new bot on WhatsApp, the popular messaging platform, will fact-check coronavirus misinformation if prompted by a user.
The bot was launched on Monday by the Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN). It works by having a WhatsApp user save a number (+1 (727) 291-2606) in their address book, which people can then text to have something fact-checked. There is also a link to the bot.
After texting the number, the user is also given a list of options and can eventually type in a few keywords to learn more about misinformation surrounding the pandemic.
- The Daily Dot is committed to filtering the noise every day as COVID-19 seizes the internet’s attention worldwide. We bring you stories on everything related to the viral pandemic, from the state response to social media fallout, and all the technical flubs, emerging social trends, and disinformation in between. READ MORE ->
The bot will draw information from more than 80 fact-checking organizations around the world, as well as a database of more than 4,000 hoaxes that have been identified by fact-checkers from 74 countries, Poynter said.
“Hundreds of millions of users rely on WhatsApp to stay in touch with their friends and families every day,” IFCN Director Baybars Orsek said in a statement. “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.”
- WhatsApp is limiting message forwarding to fight coronavirus misinformation
- Apple, Google promise government can’t access location data with coronavirus apps
- FTC says consumers have lost $23 million in coronavirus scams this year
- Conspiracy theorist accidentally emails Justice Department, launches inquiry into himself