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This is how the WhatsApp bot to deny hoaxes about the coronavirus developed together with IFCN works

We use social networks and messaging applications for everything from entertainment to simple contact with friends, family and other loved ones, but they also have their role in informing us. WhatsApp is the most widely used app of its kind in the world and has long taken steps to prevent the spread of hoaxes that contribute to disinformation, such as the gradual reduction in the limit of “viral” message forwarding.

However, WhatsApp has another functionality that is beginning to be exploited more efficiently and that is the creation of bots. Automatic systems that answer on a specific phone number and that serve to provide us with information of all kinds. The last one, a bot developed by the Poynter Institute and the International Network of Content Verifiers or IFCN. A bot intended for to inform us and to deny the possible hoaxes that circulate around the coronavirus causing COVID-19.

This is how the new bot of the International Fact-Checking Network


To begin with, in order to start using this bot from the IFCN we’ll have to start a conversation with him. We can do this by entering a new contact in our phone with the number +1 (727) 2912606 and then opening a conversation with him on WhatsApp, or simply clicking on the link below which will open a conversation on your phone’s WhatsApp with him.

Once the conversation with the botIf you want to say hello, just say “Hi” and activate the welcome menu, which will indicate a series of options for us to interact with him. Each of the options has an associated number that represents an internal menu, and that we will have to write and send to start interacting with him. The options are as follows:

  1. Search for fact checks. We will enter here by typing “1” to consult possible hoaxes we have encountered.
  2. Latest fact checks. Accessing here with the “2” we will find information about the last hoaxes in circulation that the bot detected through the various partner agencies.
  3. Tips to fight misinformation. By typing “3” we will access a series of tips from the IFCN so that we can more easily identify the hoaxes ourselves and avoid spreading them, thus reducing the general misinformation about the coronavirus.
  4. Find fact-checkers near me. With the number “4”, the bot will inform us of the fact checkers or data verifiers closest to us. Normally these will be those operating in our own country, as they will recognise the prefix of our telephone number in order to locate us. In Spain, for example, the data verifiers are EFE Verifica, Newtral and
  5. About US. Information about the bot and the organization that developed it in number “5”.
  6. Privacy. Information about the handling of our data in consultations with the bot and other NBFI privacy policies.

At the moment, the bot The IFCN’s Coronavirus misinformation campaign on WhatsApp is English only, but the developers are already working on getting it to speak all sorts of languages, including Spanish. The bot is functional in over 70 countries with over 80 data verifiers and will continue to expand as the weeks go by.

Fact Checking on WhatsApp with the IFCN bot

Now, to try it out, all you have to do is follow the first steps that we have indicated, for example, go to section 1, the search for hoaxes, and introduce a concept that has hoaxes located. For example, the consumption of garlic. You can try it now and introduce “garlic”, the English word for garlic, and the bot will offer you several links with verified and contrasted information. And as with garlic, with many more concepts.

Via | TechCrunch

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