WhatsApp launches coronavirus info hub, will donate $1 million for checking fake news on COVID-19 pandemic

Although circulation of fake news is harmful to the society at all times, the risk involved increases by many folds when it happens during a pandemic.

In order to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, it is imperative that unverified and false messages are not shared among masses.

Representational image. Reuters

To contribute to this cause, popular messaging app WhatsApp has taken up two initiatives. The Facebook-owned enterprise will donate $1 million to International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN).
Also, WhatsApp launched a ‘Coronavirus Information Hub’ in partnership with IFCN, World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The $1 million grant will help in working for the project called CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus alliance, created by IFCN in January this year.

The alliance has over 100 fact-checkers working from 45 nations. WhatsApp’s donation will help the fact-checks reach a greater audience and clear their heads out of the surge of misinformation that clouds the social media, said Baybars Orsek, director of the IFCN.

The information hub can be accessed at whatsapp.com/coronavirus which would provide guidelines on how to stay connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some of the top pointers ask people to connect remotely, choose a reliable source of information and help prevent the spread of rumours. It will provide a platform for community leaders such as healthcare professionals, teachers, NGOs and local businesses to connect with their community.

At least 160 people have tested positive in India for the deadly virus that originated from China’s Wuhan city. Three people have been killed due to coronavirus in the country.