Poynter Institute launches WhatsApp bot to curb misinformation
Highlights
  • The chatbot is capable of debunking over 4000 hoaxes related to the novel coronavirus.
  • Users are required to send “hi” to +1 727 291 2606 to enable the chatbot
  • The chatbot is free to use and is currently available only in English

The Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) has launched a new chatbot on Facebook-owned WhatsApp to reduce the spread of misinformation. The chatbot is capable of debunking over 4000 hoaxes related to the novel coronavirus. The chatbot database is updated daily so that users can access relevant and more recent content.

Poynter Institute launches WhatsApp bot to curb misinformation

The chatbot is free to use and is currently available only in English. In the coming weeks, the chatbot will get support for more languages, including Spanish and Hindi. The chatbot also provides users a global directory of fact-checking organizations. The system identifies the user’s country by the mobile country code and then provides the nearest fact-checking organizations.

To use the chatbot, users are required to text “hi” to +1 727 291 2606 using WhatsApp. Alternatively, users can click http://poy.nu/ifcnbot to send the message. After that, users will get an automated message with options. Users can choose from the below-mentioned options:

  • Search for fact checks: The bot will ask you to enter a short sentence or a word. After sending the query, the bot will search in its database and will give the top two search results. You can send ‘+’ to get two more search results. 
  • Latest fact checks: This option provides the two of the latest fact checks from networks of your country. If you want to see the latest fact-checking from networks of other countries, just send the name of that country.
  • Tips to fight misinformation: This option will give you useful tips and tricks to avoid common misinformation.  
  • Find fact-checkers near me: This option will give you the list of fact-checking organization in your country. 
  • About us: This option gives information about both, IFCN and the Coronavirus Facts Alliance along with their website links.
  • Privacy: This option provides information about what data chatbot collects and what it does with it. 

WhatsApp, in March 2020, has donated $1 million to the Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network.

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