In order to tackle misinformation and fake news regarding coronavirus (Covid-19), the Indian government has taken the charge and decided to launch its own chatbot on WhatsApp.
The IT ministry and the ministry of health and family welfare (MoHFW) have started a special helpline, MyGov Corona Helpdesk, on WhatsApp to answer people’s queries.
To raise any query, anyone can simply drop a WhatsApp message to 9013151515. The chatbot will then send an automated response, listing the most commonly asked questions. The users will just have to choose the question they want to get the answers to.
The chatbot responds to the following questions:
- What is coronavirus and what are its symptoms?
- How does coronavirus spread?
- How to reduce the risk of coronavirus?
- Professional advice from AIIMS-Director
- Know more on coronavirus
- Where to get help?
Besides this, people can also reach out to the government’s helpline by calling 011-23978046 and 1075 (toll-free) or can drop a mail to [email protected] to seek assistance and clarification about coronavirus.
Besides this, the government has also roped in global tech giant Google and is in talks with Facebook as well to ensure that there is no misinformation being spread through such platforms. Google has already customised India’s search page with the ‘Do The Five. Help stop coronavirus’ campaign.
The page also contains a link to the health ministry page giving important information on the pandemic, along with real-time data on the extent of impact — positive cases, locations and deaths. Besides this, Google has also been sending out push notifications to both Android and iOS users in India, highlighting important information in this regard.
A government official told ET that Google had reached out to the Indian government for partnership on this and is also changing its search algorithms to provide information from authentic sources. Google too confirmed the report, saying that it is working closely with several government departments, including the Prime Minister office (PMO).
The government is also in talks with Facebook to come up with a solution as well. Meanwhile, it has also been exploring all possible tech solutions to deal with the Covid-19 or coronavirus pandemic.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube have also started regulating content and ads on their platforms to put an end to any misinformation being spread on their platform. All global social media platforms have been in touch with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to push out accurate information.