WhatsApp Initiatives to Battle Coronavirus


Sarah Peddie

WhatsApp has teamed up with WHO, UNICEF and UNDP to help fight against the coronavirus by launching the WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub.

The initiative has back up from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Health Organisation (WHO) AND UNICEF, along with a $1 million donation to the Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN).

The WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub will provide guidance for health workers, educators, leaders, nonprofits, local government and businesses that rely on WhatsApp to communicate. 

It also offers some general tips and resources for users around the globe in able to reduce the spread of rumours and feed in accurate health information. 

These recommendations provide guidance on how small groups can make the most of WhatsApp features and these will be distributed by the UNDP. WHO and UNICEF will provide messaging hotlines for people to use directly - they will provide reliable information and will be listed on the WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub.

WhatsApp has worked with many different national health ministries to help provide factual information to users via text in countries like Brazil, Indonesia, Israel, Singapore and South Africa. As these continue, the hub will be updated with the latest resources to access.

The $1m grant to the IFCN will support fact-checking for the #CoronaVirusFacts Alliance which is across more than 100 local organisations in around 45 different countries. Getting the IFCN involved will help ensure that local communities are aware and are responding to potential rumours that can be harmful. The grant will support training to use the advanced features of WhatsApp Business. 

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