Over the years, popular messaging platform WhatsApp has evolved to be the breeding ground of fake news and rumors. The company has been taking steps to fight misinformation and the latest effort in this regard is the addition of a fact-checker bot in collaboration with Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checkers Network (IFCN).
“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.”, says IFCN’s Director, Baybars Orsek.
IFCN’s chatbot lets you search for fact checks, view the latest fact-checks, find fact-checkers near your location, and get tips to fight misinformation. One noteworthy tip I saw in IFCN bot is to trust scientists before politicians.
You can get started with the bot by sending a “Hi” message to +1 (727) 2912606. Alternatively, you may click here to jump right into it. Once you get to the conversation screen, you may enter your query to get relevant fact-checks performed regarding it, as shown in the image below.
To test out the bot, I tried viewing fact-checkers in India, and the bot listed a total of 12 fact-checkers including The Quint, India Today, FactCrescendo, and more along with either their WhatsApp links or official websites.
The next time you hear or receive bizarre news such as magical coronavirus remedies or 5G towers being mistaken to spread coronavirus, this WhatsApp bot would come in handy to make a judgment rather than jumping into conclusions just because the message says a public figure or institution has claimed so.