WhatsApp has announced two initiatives to support the global fight against the Coronavirus pandemic. First, it has launched WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and has made a donation of $1 million to the Poynter Institute's International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN).
The WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub is now live and it provides simple, actionable guidance for health workers, educators, community leaders, nonprofits, local governments and local businesses so that they can disseminate correct information via WhatsApp. Further, it lays down general tips and resources for users so that they reduce the spread of misinformation and rumours about the pandemic.
‘These recommendations provide quick guidance on how small groups can make the most of WhatsApp features, and will be distributed by UNDP to those coordinating local efforts. In addition, WhatsApp is working with the WHO and UNICEF to provide messaging hotlines for people around the world to use directly. These hotlines will provide reliable information and will be listed on the WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub,’ the Facebook-owned instant messaging platform, said in a statement.
The company said that it has worked with several national health ministries and NGOs to provide factual information in countries including Singapore, Israel, South Africa, Brazil, and Indonesia. The hub will be updated with the latest resources.
Additionally, WhatsApp says that its $1 million grant to the IFCN will support fact-checking for the #CoronaVirusFacts Alliance, which spans more than 100 local organisations in at least 45 countries. The grant will support training to use the advanced features within WhatsApp Business, including the WhatsApp Business API.
‘We wanted to provide a simple resource that can help connect people at this time of crisis. We are also pleased to partner with the Poynter Institute to help grow the amount of fact-checking organisations on WhatsApp and to support their life saving work to debunk rumours. We will also continue to work directly with health ministries around the world for them to provide updates right within WhatsApp,’ added Will Cathcart, Head of WhatsApp.