NEW DELHI: To curb the growing misinformation around coronavirus among Indians, International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) has released a Hindi version of its global fact-checking covid-19 chatbot for WhatsApp.
The fact checking chatbot is already available in English and Spanish.
The chatbot allows WhatsApp users to ask questions on covid-19 and cross check any piece of published information they suspect to be false with independent fact-checkers.
IFCN has roped in 11 fact-checking groups in India and seven of them publish content in Hindi.
Jagran Group’s fact-checking unit Vishvas News, Fact Crescendo, India Today, Newschecker, Boom Fact Check, News Mobile and The Quint are some of the fact checkers.
The available database in Hindi includes over 250 fact-checks to start with. It will be updated daily with new fact checks.
According to IFCN, more than 6,600 hoaxes related to covid-19 have been identified by over 80 fact-checking organizations from 74 countries so far.
Users can access IFCN chatbot on WhatsApp by saving +1 (727) 2912606 as a contact number and can enable the Hindi version by sending a message saying नमस्ते. The other option is through the portal.
“Billions of users rely on WhatsApp to stay in touch with their friends and families every month. Since bad actors use every single platform to disseminate falsehoods, to mislead others during such troubling times, fact-checkers’ work is more important than ever,” Baybars Orsek, director, IFCN said in a statement.
According to WhatsApp, the IFCN bot allows users to get fact-checks and searchable database of hoaxes that have been debunked. The verified fact-checkers can only see messages sent directly to them, and cannot see, monitor or delete content on WhatsApp.
In addition to IFCN chatbots, various state governments in India have also launched their own covid-19 bots on WhatsApp, but mostly to provide correct information on the disease to the citizens. Government of India had also rolled out a chatbot called MyGov Corona Helpdesk on WhatsApp.
World Health Organisation (WHO) too launched a chatbot service to answer questions on covid-19.
WhatsApp has over 400 million users in India.