The Facebook-owned WhatsApp has struggled with the spread of misinformation since the start. Despite all the efforts, the platform is still facing similar issues.
In its attempt to control the spread of misinformation, and help people gain access to authentic real-time data, the Company announced two initiatives today.
- It has globally launched the WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, the World Health Organization, and UNICEF.
- It will donate $1 million to the Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN).
The information hub will offer actionable and straightforward guidance to users around the world. According to WhatsApp, the hub will:
- Provide users with community leaders’ support, including health care professionals, educators, local businesses, etc.
- Help prevent the spread of rumors.
- Bring authentic pandemic related stories to one place.
Apart from this, WhatsApp’s collaboration with Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) is expected to help in the fact-checking for the #CoronaVirusFacts Alliance. The Alliance currently spans more than 100 local organizations in at least 45 countries.
Will Cathcart, Head of WhatsApp, said:
We are also pleased to be able 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 rumors. We will also continue to work directly with health ministries around the world for them to provide updates right within WhatsApp.
Explaining how the donation will help in the fast checks, Baybars Orsek, 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.’
The International Fact-Checking Network also looks forward to discovering ways to understand the spread of health-related hoaxes on WhatsApp in different formats and to make tools available for fact-checkers to detect and debunk misinformation on the messaging app.
In other news, WhatsApp’s parent firm, Facebook has also committed to match $20 million in donations to support global relief efforts for COVID-19.