WhatsApp India is the messaging application with the highest monthly active users in the world. With such strength, the application can become an efficient medium for spreading information or misinformation in some cases. Messages related to politics, health, people are forwarded in millions creating a huge data base of unverified information running within the chat. The company has added some fact checkers in the past to help weed out fake news. Now a chat bot has been launched to verify health tips. The new chatbot ‘Ask Raksha’ has been announced by THIP Media, a fact-checking platform.
THIP Media is a signatory to the International Fact Checking Network (IFCN), which works with verified medical professionals to investigate misleading news and claims about health, medicine, diet and treatment. The platform is published in English, Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi, Gujarati and Nepali.
Raksha means readily accessible knowledge and support for health action. It is built on the WhatsApp Business platform and can be used by Indian citizens to find answers to fact-check any health information for free. Apart from this, users can also get answers to their health related questions directly. Users can also subscribe to daily health tips or play a quiz to evaluate their health knowledge. The chatbot is currently in English but the company has confirmed that its Hindi and Bengali versions will be launched soon.
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To access the chatbot and start a conversation with Raksha, users need to send “Hi” on WhatsApp to the number +91-85078-85079.
Shivnath Thukral, Director of Public Policy, WhatsApp India, said, “We are delighted to support the launch of ‘Ask Raksha’ – the Healthy India Project’s chatbot built on the WhatsApp Business platform that enables users to access reliable health information from independent sources. Third-party fact-checkers, certified by international fact-checking networks. At WhatsApp, the safety of our users is at the core of everything we do and we’ve set out to empower users with the resources and tools they need Dedicated efforts have been made which equip them to fact-check and obtain authentic information.Over the last two years we have partnered with several NGOs and Government Ministries including the Government of India, to provide accurate and verified COVID related information to the people. Launch MyGov Corona Helpdesk on WhatsApp to help ease access Get reliable information.
Sudipta Sengupta, CEO, The Healthy Indian Project (THIP) said, “We are grateful to WhatsApp for its support in building this chatbot. It helps us expand THIP Media’s objective of providing reliable health information to all Indians and also protects them from health misinformation. It is a great feeling to be able to launch it on the eve of International Fact Checking Day and World Health Day.”
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