WhatsApp to grant $1M to train professionals in identifying fake news and rumours
WhatsApp is the first social media app that gets spammed with a load of misinformation. In a latest move, the Facebook-owned instant messaging service announced two initiatives to specifically fight fake news and misinformation related to COVID-19 that is being spread through the app.
Reports say, WhatsApp is working with the WHO and UNICEF to provide messaging hotlines which can be accessed by people from around the world directly. These hotlines will provide information and will be listed on the WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub. However, it the company did not share exactly when the hotline will be ready for use.
The messaging firm also announced that it will be donating $1 million to the Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN). The $1 million grant will help in fact-checking for the #CoronaVirusFacts Alliance, which spans more than 100 local organizations in at least 45 countries.
This aim of this grant is to train people to use the advanced features within WhatsApp Business, including the WhatsApp Business API. With the expansion of these IFCN certified fact-checking organizations, WhatsApp aims to ensure local communities are aware and responding to potential harmful rumors.
“We are also pleased to be able to partner with the Poynter Institute to help grow the amount of fact-checking organizations on WhatsApp and to support their life saving work to debunk rumors. We will also continue to work directly with health ministries around the world for them to provide updates right within WhatsApp,” said Will Cathcart, Head of WhatsApp, in a statement.
In a statement, Baybars Orsek, Director of IFCN, said, “the timely donation from WhatsApp will help the fact-checks published by the CoronaVirusFacts Alliance to reach wider audiences and, in consequence, help people sort facts from fiction during this avalanche of information that WHO called an ‘infodemic.'”
“The International Fact-Checking Network also looks forward to discovering ways to understand the spread of health related hoaxes on WhatsApp in different formats and to make tools available for fact-checkers to detect and debunk misinformation on the messaging app,” he added.
The announcement came after it became apparent that WhatsApp continues to face issues regarding the spread of misinformation and fake news to over 2 billion users of the app.