WhatsApp has partnered with the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to create a dedicated hub for information related to COVID-19. Called the WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub, the webpage highlights how the messaging app and its various features can be used by healthcare workers, educators, community leaders, non-profit organizations, local governments and small businesses to better communicate during this time of crisis.
In a statement, Will Cathcart, Head of WhatsApp, said that the new initiative will help people stay connected during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We know that our users are reaching out on WhatsApp more than ever at this time of crisis, whether it’s to friends and loved ones, doctors to patients, or teachers to students. We wanted to provide a simple resource that can help connect people at this time. We are also pleased to be able to partner with the Poynter Institute to help grow the amount of fact-checking organizations on WhatsApp and to support their life-saving work to debunk rumors”, he said.
In addition, the company also announced a $1 million (roughly Rs. 7.44 crores) donation to the Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) as part of its efforts to stop the spread of misinformation, rumors and fake news regarding the outbreak that has already been recognized by the WHO as a pandemic. The organization has been coordinating the #CoronaVirusFacts Alliance, with more than 100 fact-checkers in at least 45 countries.
Meanwhile, WhatsApp’s parent company, Facebook, has also committed to donating $20 million (around Rs. 150 crores) to fight COVID-19. The social media giant last week announced a partnership with the United Nations Foundation and WHO to start a global COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund with a donation commitment of up to $10 million (around Rs. 75 crore). It will also donate $10 million to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for combating the outbreak in the US.