WhatsApp has been bothered by the nuisance of false information and fast-spreading lies and half-baked truths through its platform, which enjoys a huge user base. Social media has come in a partnership with the world level organizations viz. WHO, UNICEF, and UNDP to tackle the menace of false info towards providing simple, workable guidance and general instructions to users.
These common tips and resources would be provided for users throughout the world to be better prepped up against the novel Coronavirus and combating the COVID-19 disease through appropriate safety precautions. It is important to note that in such times of crisis and distress, not only is the individual’s health important, but the community sanitation and hygiene has a far greater role.
The coming up of hotlines is a significant step. WHO and UNICEF would be partnering and joining hands with WhatsApp to come up with some messaging hotlines for persons all over the world so that these hotline numbers could be used directly. These hotline contacts will be there to give away verified information to the platform users, and these shall be listed on the WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub.
Facebook had earlier declared that both of its platforms i.e., not just Facebook but Instagram, also will be removing those posts of the platform users, which have been concluded by its officials to be filled with false information or spreading half-baked truth about the virus. Such posts would be taken down with quick effect. On top of it, people shall also be warned if they make efforts to share posts with false information or misinformation regarding the Coronavirus.
On the aligned end to the spectrum, the company had made a point to restrict hashtags, too, which can lead to the spread of false information or misleading content about the virus over the Instagram diaspora. While restrictions were just one of the several things, the social media biggies had also decided to block some hashtags completely. If you go with the company, their narrative has not at all been surprising.
Facebook also declared that it was planning to donate $ 100 million in cash grants and ad credits for around 30,000 small businesses who had to suffer the huge losses as the economic impact of the pandemic in some 30 countries and face the COVID-19. It goes along with their pledge to “remove content with false claims or conspiracy theories that have been flagged by leading global health organizations and local health authorities that could cause harm to people who believe them.”
The parent company of the platform has also committed to granting $ 10 million for the United Nations Foundation (UNF) and the COVID-19’s Solidarity Response Fund of the World Health Organization. Additionally, a sum of 10 million dollars would be donated to the CDC Foundation, which is all set to launch its Facebook Fundraiser in the next few weeks, as per Mark Zuckerberg, Founder, and CEO of Facebook.
WhatsApp has also decided to donate a sum of $ 1 million to the Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network, which is also known as the IFCN. This grant of $ 1 million will prove to be a helping hand in the fact-checking missions for the #CoronaVirusFacts Alliance. It is a global alliance to combat Coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease, which includes more than 100 local agencies in around 45 countries all over the world.
Now, the social media platform, which is used by more than 2 billion people, has been roped in criticism due to the rampant spreading of false stuff about the virus. Thus, the hotlines and the grant sum could not have been timed any better. As per the platform, the same shall be used to upscale the advanced features within WhatsApp Business that also includes the WhatsApp Business API. The health-related hoaxes should be busted as early as possible.
“The timely donation from WhatsApp will help the fact-checks published by the Coronavirus Facts Alliance to reach wider audiences and, in consequence, help people sort facts from fiction during this avalanche of information that WHO called an infodemic,” said Baybars Orsak, the Director of Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network.
It has become the need of the hour to detect and debunk the fast-spreading misinformation on the social media app in a bid to sort facts from fiction.