In an effort to curb the spread of misinformation and fake news surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, Facebook-owned Whatsapp on Wednesday launched the 'Coronavirus Information Hub' in partnership with World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The 'WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub' offers simple, actionable guidance, general tips, and resources for users around the world to gain reliable knowledge about the disease and thus curb the spread of rumours.
WhatsApp has said it is cooperating with WHO and UNICEF to launch messaging hotlines for people around the world to use directly. These hotlines will provide information and will also be listed on the WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub page. While the page is live, the Messenger company has not revealed when the hotline will be ready for use.
Additionally, WhatsApp pledged to donate $1 million to the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) that will contribute to the 'Coronavirus Facts Alliance', which spans across 100 local organizations in at least 45 countries.
The grant aims to train people in using advanced features within WhatsApp Business, such as the WhatsApp Business API. 'Expanding the presence of these IFCN certified fact-checking organizations could help ensure local communities are aware and responding to potential harmful rumours,' the firm said.
Last week, WhatsApp parent Facebook committed $20 million (148.70 crores) to fight the Coronavirus outbreak that hit nations globally. In a post on Facebook, the founder of the social networking giant announced that he was working in collaboration with United Nations Foundation and the World Health Organization to start a COVID-19 "Solidarity Response Fund", to which anyone could make a donation.
“Facebook is matching up to $10 million in donations, and 100 percent of funds will directly support the work to prevent, detect and respond to the outbreak around the world,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had said in a post on the social media site on Friday.
Following Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft also committed $1 million each to the COVID-19 Response Fund. Additionally, Google.org and Google employees have also donated over $1 million to support the relief efforts for the pandemic that has impacted more than 194,000 people and claimed the lives of over 7,800 individuals globally.