WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub Launched

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WhatsApp today announces the launch of two initiatives in
support of the global fight against the Coronavirus pandemic: the global launch of
the  WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub  in partnership with the World Health
Organization and UNDP as well as a $1m donation to the Poynter Institute's
International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN).

WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub

The  WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub launches today at whatsapp.com/coronavirus to provide simple, actionable guidance for health
workers, educators, community leaders, nonprofits, local governments and local
businesses that rely on WhatsApp to communicate. The site also offers general tips
and resources for users around the world to reduce the spread of rumors and
connect with accurate health information.

While people need to spend time apart, WhatsApp will continue to provide a simple,
reliable, and secure way for people to communicate. These recommendations
provide quick guidance on how small groups can make the most of WhatsApp
features and will be distributed by UNDP to those coordinating local efforts. In
addition, WhatsApp is working with UNICEF and WHO to provide messaging
hotlines for people around the world to use directly. These hotlines will be listed on
the WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub.

To date, WhatsApp has worked with a number of national health ministries and
NGOs to provide factual information to users via text in countries including
Singapore, Israel, South Africa, Brazil, and Indonesia. As these efforts continue, the
hub will be updated with the latest resources.

WhatsApp’s $1m grant to the IFCN will support fact-checking for the
#CoronaVirusFacts Alliance, which spans more than 100 local organizations in at
least 45 countries. Over the last year, WhatsApp has worked to bring over a dozen
fact-checking organizations directly onto WhatsApp so they can crowdsource and
report on rumors that may be circulating on various messaging services including
WhatsApp or SMS. The grant will support training to use the advanced features
within WhatsApp Business, including the WhatsApp Business API. Expanding the
presence of these IFCN certified fact-checking organizations will help ensure local
communities are aware and responding to potential harmful rumors.

Comment from Will Cathcart, Head of WhatsApp

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“We know that our users are reaching out on WhatsApp more than ever at this time
of crisis, whether it’s to friends and loved ones, doctors to patients, or teachers to
students. We wanted to provide a simple resource that can help connect people at
this time.

“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.”

Comment from Baybars Orsek, Director of IFCN:

“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
one of the messaging app.

Comment from Achim Steiner, Administrator of the United Nations Development
Program (UNDP):

“Getting up to date information about COVID-19 to local communities around
the world is a critical piece of the international community’s efforts to stem the
spread of the virus,” said Achim Steiner, Administrator of the United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP). “Partnerships with the private sector
companies like WhatsApp will help get this vital, real-time information from the
World Health Organization and local health officials to billions of users around
the globe.”

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