In a move to curb the spread of fake news and misinformation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a chatbot on Facebook Messenger that can answer user questions about the disease.
The WHO said that the chatbot will allow them to reach as many as 4.2 billion people, and will thus help in the protection and prevention of COVID-19. The WHO Health Alert service, launched earlier via Whatsapp, has reached more than 12 million people.
“With this transition into Facebook Messenger, and other communication channels related to it, WHO Health Alert has the potential to reach 4.2 billion people helping people protect themselves from COVID-19, prevent its spread, and understand the facts related to the disease,” the post read.
Made with the support from Sprinklr, a software company working on creating tools for customer experience on social media, the Health Alert service can be accessed through the WHO’s official Facebook page. Facebook users just need to tap the “Send Message” button at the top of the page, and they will be automatically redirected to an interactive service with the chatbot. The chatbot is part of the WHO Technology for COVID-19 Initiative, a pro-bono collaboration of tech companies to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
The WHO joins organizations like UNICEF, Argentina’s Ministry of Health, and other health groups that have launched Messenger-based experiences. The organization further said that tools such as the Health Alert service is “critical as widespread misinformation can create unnecessary fear and panic in this already trying time.”