In an effort to curb the spread of misinformation and fake news surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, Facebook-owned Whatsapp on Wednesday launched the ‘Coronavirus Information Hub’ in partnership with World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The ‘WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub’ offers simple, actionable guidance, general tips, and resources for guidance for health workers, educators, community leaders, non-profits, local governments and local businesses that rely on WhatsApp to communicate around the world to gain reliable knowledge about the disease and thus curb the spread of rumours.
The information centre will also offer tips and resources to help limit the spread of rumours related to Covid-19.
WhatsApp has said it is cooperating with WHO and UNICEF to launch messaging hotlines for people around the world to use directly. These hotlines will provide information and will also be listed on the WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub page. While the page is live, the Messenger company has not revealed when the hotline will be ready for use.
WhatsApp also took steps to tackle challenges stemming from the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, launching a global information centre and donating $1 million to a fact-checking initiative.
Facebook’s subsidiary said it was working with the WHO and UNICEF to open messaging hotlines for users to get information directly.
As part of its efforts to combat misinformation, WhatsApp announced it will pour $1 million into Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN).
The grant will support an alliance related to checking information about Covid-19, which covers more than 100 local organisations in at least 45 countries. The donation will also include training for fact-checkers to use features within WhatsApp Business.
WhatsApp head Will Cathcart stated the move would “help grow the amount of fact-checking organisations” on the messaging app and “support their life-saving work to debunk rumours”.
He added the company will continue working with health ministries worldwide to provide updates within the messaging service.
Administrator of the UNDP, Achim Steiner, described receiving up-to-date information about Covid-19 as “a critical piece of the international community’s efforts to stem the spread of the virus”.
WHO characterised Covid-19 as a pandemic on 11 March.