WhatsApp introduces fake news chatbot

Since the pandemic started we have been discussing how WhatsApp’s biggest concern has been thwarting the spread of viral misinformation on the platform as, unfortunately, they have stopped being the mild annoyances from our family chat groups to become life-threating concerns.

When the first rumors started to circulate, though, the consequences weren’t as bad—some, like “Drinking a lot of water during the day kills off the virus when it’s in your throat” could be argued that they encouraged, to some extent, good habits. But as people across the globe began to take progressively dangerous fake news seriously, the stakes rose dramatically: from deaths from drinking toxic methanol in Iran to squads burning down 5G antennas in the UK, to the continuing protests against lockdown in the US.

One such example was the latest hit, “Plandemic”, a massively viral video that got 7.1 million views on YouTube before it was caught by the moderation team. Combining the toxic narratives of anti-vaxxers and those of illuminati-believers, it claimed among other things, that wearing facemasks ‘activate the virus’. Nothing good can ever come out of that.

The Poynter Institute, a journalism research center and non-profit organization, has raced to contribute to the fight against misinformation and has launched a WhatsApp chatbot designed to debunk the most popular COVID-19 hoaxes. Powering its database with the latest research from 100 independent fact-checkers in more than 70 countries, the chatbot provides the most accurate information in relation to the least accurate stories.

You only need to send “hi” to +1 (727) 2912606 or click on this link to start chatting. You can easily write a keyword, such as “water” to obtain the most popular myths about COVID-19. For now it works in English and Hindi, while Spanish and Portuguese are coming soon.

Lean more here.