In a move to help users find accurate coronavirus information, WhatsApp and the World Health Organization (WHO) have launched a chatbot that will answer questions about the pandemic. In addition to fighting misinformation on the platform, this new chatbot attempt could also help government decision-makers find the latest numbers and situation reports, WhatsApp says.
When a user text “hi” to the new WHO Health Alert (+41 79 893 1892), the service will respond with a series of prompts, the latest data, and a few emojis. One can choose from the available prompts to get information related to that.
To receive updates on #COVID19 from WHO add this number— +41 79 893 18 92 to your contacts and send a @WhatsApp message. You’ll automatically be registered to receive updates and also have an option to ask for more information as shown below. pic.twitter.com/WXaGd88AGf
— WHO Uganda (@WHOUganda) March 20, 2020
Yesterday, WhatsApp unveiled a coronavirus fact-checking platform in partnership with the WHO, UNICEF, and the United Nations Development Programme. This chatbot is launched in a vision to share the latest news and advice related to COVID-19 and to prevent users from sharing misinformation with others. The chatbot will also allow users to ask questions directly from it. WhatsApp also donated $1 million to support fact-checking organizations.
According to a report from The Guardian, the UK’s NHS may also be developing a WhatsApp chatbot to share reliable coronavirus information. NHS has already been sharing reliable information related to health and coronavirus via Google Search. And now, it may take a step ahead to share information on WhatsApp.
WhatsApp will likely play an essential role in the coronavirus pandemic as it has over 2 billion active users who might play a vital role in awareness against the spread of the novel coronavirus.
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