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    WhatsApp does its bit, donates $1 mn to International Fact-Checking Network, launches coronavirus info hub

    Synopsis

    The messaging app has worked with a number of national health ministries.

    iStock
    WhatsApp is working with the WHO and UNICEF to provide messaging hotlines for people around the world.
    To most observers, WhatsApp might still be in the shadow of its elder sibling Facebook in the social networking sweepstakes, but in Europe and Asia – India, especially – the popular messaging app is emerging as a social networking app in its own right.

    Thousands of messages are exchanged between users and the in the groups that they are members of. Some of the messages are links from news websites and other sources of information, which may or may not be authentic.

    Facebook-owned WhatsApp has moved to avoid the spread of misinformation about the prevailing public health crisis spawned by the coronavirus outbreak. It has created an information hub where users can find verified information on how they can better protect their friends and family from the pandemic.

    WhatsApp's USD 1 million grant to the IFCN will support fact-checking for the #CoronaVirusFacts Alliance, which spans more than 100 local organisations in nearly 45 countries.iStock
    WhatsApp's USD 1 million grant to the IFCN will support fact-checking for the #CoronaVirusFacts Alliance, which spans more than 100 local organisations in nearly 45 countries.

    The website also provides the latest information about the spread of the contagious virus, and the steps that are being to combat it. WhatsApp launched the portal in collaboration with multilateral bodies like UNICEF, WHO, and UNDP, with the hope that the endeavour transcend that of a social network or a news source in scope.

    WhatsApp’s information hub hopes to connect local legislators, educators, healthcare providers and businesses with how they can stay connected and coordinate efforts to combat the virus at a microlevel. The company has also donated USD 1 million to the Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN).

    The grant is meant to support the #CoronaVirusFacts Alliance – a consortium of local organizations spanning 45 countries. Members or organizations affiliated to the alliance will receive training advanced features including WhatsApp’s API.

    This is meant to help them engineer fact-checking protocols on the app so that local communities are check for potentially harm egregious information regarding the pandemic in their localities.

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