WhatsApp and Poynter Institute have launched an international chatbot to debunk COVID-19 myths.
The chatbot will allow people around the world to debunk more than 4,000 hoaxes about the pandemic. It relies on information from 100 independent fact-checkers in more than 70 countries.
Users can access the chatbot by saving 1-727-291-2606 as a contact number and texting the word “hi.” Or, you can click here if you don’t want to save the number in your phone.
Once you access the chatbot, you will be asked to type a number for a certain prompt. You can search for fact checks, get the latest fact checks, receive information to fight misinformation, find fact-checkers near you and learn more about the chatbot.
If you want to get the latest information about debunked myths in Canada, you can text a ‘2.’ One of the latest myths that has been debunked in Canada according to the chatbot is that robbers are pretending to offer tests for COVID-19 to rob houses.
The chatbot notes that “the Montreal police confirmed that this type of crime is not happening.” It also tells the user that the claim was rated false by Radio Canada on March 22nd.
Facebook-owned WhatsApp has been taking several steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 misinformation on its platform. The app introduced a limit that only allows messages to be forwarded to one chat at a time. It also launched an information hub to keep users informed about myths and misinformation.