Poynter Institute WhatsApp bot will fact-check coronavirus claims; 4000 hoaxes

A Poynter Institute WhatsApp bot will provide a simple way to fact-check coronavirus claims which users might otherwise forward …

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Since January, IFCN’s CoronavirusFacts Alliance has been utilizing the capacity of the fact-checking community to help users to sort truth from fiction by debunking falsehoods around the COVID-19 pandemic. The IFCN chatbot will allow users to search for fact checks and get connected with fact-checkers in their countries from their smartphones. The chatbot will also serve as a way to direct people to their local fact-checkers’ websites.

TNW reports that more than 4,000 hoaxes have so far been identified.

Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checkers Network (IFCN) is launching a bot on WhatsApp to curb fake information related to coronavirus. The bot‘s aim is to let people quickly check myths about the disease in 70 countries.

IFCN said 80 fact-checking organizations from 74 countries have identified more than 4,000 coronavirus-related hoaxes since January. The new bot makes it easier for you to search through these myth-busters. You can search for terms like “Masks” or “Garlic” to get related fact-checks.

Getting access to the bot is simple:

You’ll then get a menu which includes options to see the latest fact-checks, search by keyword, and see tips on fighting misinformation. The bot also links to other validated fact-checking organizations.

WhatsApp gave the Poynter Institute a $1M grant to help with the initiative.

WhatsApp owner Facebook last month boosted safeguards designed to limit the spread of coronavirus misinformation on the platform and said last week that the measure has proven effective. Apple has also played its part by launching its own COVID-19 app and by promoting official government apps.

One particularly dumb coronavirus hoax resulted in phone masts being set alight.

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Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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