Telegram Messenger, the instant messaging app that has a dedicated user-base in India and around the world, has announced that it is working closely with the governments and health ministries in several countries to better serve its users during the coronavirus pandemic. In an official press release this week, the company claimed that verified Telegram channels are among the most powerful broadcasting tools “where unlimited number of audiences can be reached out with high authenticity at a single time”.
In order to spread the correct information and curb fake news circulation, Telegram has helped create a number of official verified channels for the health departments of a number of countries, including India, Israel, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. The channels show up at the top of coronavirus-related search results in the respective countries, helping people get verified info from healthcare professionals rather than conspiracy theories and misinformation from unsavory sources.
Telegram’s approach to tackling the problem of fake news on its platform is not too dissimilar to how its biggest competitor, WhatsApp, has been dealing with it in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. The Facebook-owned company recently tied-up with the Indian government and the World Health Organization (WHO) to launch dedicated chatbots that can be accessed by anyone looking to get authentic information about the pandemic.
In case of Telegram, the company admits that misinformation about the pandemic is a problem on its platform, saying it’s “highly important to distinguish authenticated trustworthy sources from the pro-actively generated fake Channels”. To rectify the problem, the company has launched a verification process for all channels with the help of @verifybot. The company is also notifying users about the new government-run channels in the aforementioned countries to help them get real-time updates and information on COVID-19.
You can check out the Indian government’s official MyGov Corona NewsDesk channel on Telegram or the Health Ministry’s mygov.in/covid-19 website for more information on the state of the pandemic in India.