Facebook-owned WhatsApp has unveiled a $1M grant-information hub to fight coronavirus rumours. The WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub is in partnership with WHO, UNICEF, and UNDP who will together offer simple and actionable guidance, general tips and resources for users around the world to be better informed about the virus.
WhatsApp has more than 2 billion users who are at high risk of getting fake news. The platform continues to face issues with how it is used to spread false information worldwide.
The Information Hub will also reduce the spread of fake news concerning the virus. Internet users are using this pandemic to spread fear to a majority of social media users. The fake news revolves around unverified home remedies to tackle the virus, fake advisories asking people to avoid foods such as ice cream and spicy foods or drinking lemon water to taking hot chilli to kill the virus.
The partners are working on messaging for people around the world to use directly. The hotlines will provide information on the WhatsApp Corona Virus Information Hub.
The messaging firm said it is also donating $1 million to the Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN). The $1 million grant will help in fact-checking for the #CoronaVirusFacts Alliance. Which spans more than 100 local organizations in at least 45 countries.
“We are happy 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 rumours. We will also continue to work directly with health ministries around the world for them to provide updates right within WhatsApp,” said Will Cathcart, Head of WhatsApp, in a statement.
In a statement, Baybars Orsak, Director of IFCN, said, “the timely donation from WhatsApp will help the fact-checks published by the CoronaVirusFacts Alliance to reach wider audiences and, in consequence, help people sort facts from fiction during this avalanche of information that WHO called an ‘infodemic.’”
How WhatsApp can help you stay connected during the coronavirus pandemic
-WhatsApp features like groups, voice and video calls will help you stay connected to friends and family. It will as well let you support them even when you are far away.
-The platform will connect you with reliable news sources both local, national and global organizations.
-You will be able to verify news on the platform for accuracy. Connect to your local leaders for help, stay connected with your community among other benefits.
-The platform gives you more ways to connect to customers share current business hours, organize picks and deliveries more efficiently.
-As a teacher, you can learn how to connect with your students via WhatsApp. You can send and receive assignments share lessons and many more.