News

IFCN launches WhatsApp chatbot about Covid-19 in Hindi

PTI New Delhi | Updated on June 12, 2020 Published on June 12, 2020

The International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) on Thursday launched the Hindi version of its global fact-checking Covid-19 chatbot for WhatsApp.

The service, which was previously available in English and Spanish, was developed to combat misinformation, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

It allows people to check whether information about the coronavirus is classified as false by any of the independent fact-checkers in the CoronaVirusFacts Alliance, coordinated by the IFCN.

WhatsApp has over 400 million users in India, where around 44 per cent of the population understands the Hindi language. The IFCN, therefore, decided to translate its WhatsApp chatbot into Hindi to bust fake news around Covid-19, a statement said.

“Billions of users rely on WhatsApp to stay in touch with their friends and families every month. Since bad actors use every single platform to disseminate falsehoods, to mislead others during such troubling times, fact-checkers’ work is more important than ever,” IFCN Director Baybars Orsek said.

Orsek added that since January, IFCN’s CoronavirusFacts Alliance has been utilising the capacity of the fact-checking community to help users to sort truth from fiction by debunking falsehoods around the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The new IFCN chatbot in Hindi will allow users to search for fact checks and get connected with fact-checkers from their smartphones. The chatbot will also serve as a way to direct people to their local fact-checkers’ websites,” Orsek said.

The IFCN has 11 fact-checking members in India and seven of them publish content in Hindi. Jagran Group’s fact-checking unit, Vishvas News, is one of them and is coordinating the translation efforts.

The Hindi chatbot offers content from Vishvas News, Fact Crescendo, India Today, Newschecker, Boom Fact Check, News Mobile and The Quint.

The database available in Hindi starts with more than 250 fact-checks and will be updated daily - following the same structure of the English and the Spanish chatbots, the statement said.

Since January, more than 80 fact-checking organisations from 74 countries have identified more than 6,600 hoaxes related to the novel coronavirus. All this information now forms the CoronaVirusFacts database. IFCN’s chatbot is free to use.

“WhatsApp recently provided a grant to Poynter’s IFCN to support the valuable work of its verified signatories around the world in combating COVID-19 misinformation. We are very pleased to now be able to support IFCN’s essential fact-checking work with the launch of this important service for WhatsApp users,” Ben Supple, Public Policy Manager & Global Election Lead at WhatsApp, said.

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

Published on June 12, 2020
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor