Wednesday, April 8, 2020

India launches WhatsApp chatbot to build consciousness about coronavirus

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India is turning to WhatsApp,the most preferred application in the state, to create recognition about the coronavirus pandemic and has urged social media services to tackle the unfold of misinformation on their platforms.

Narendra Modi,India’s Prime Minister, claimed on Saturday that citizens in the country can textual content a WhatsApp bot — referred to as MyGov Corona Helpdesk — to get immediate authoritative responses to their coronavirus queries this sort of as the signs or symptoms of the viral disorder and how they could find enable.

An person is required to textual content +919013151515 (or click on on this shortcut url) to link to the bot.

The bot was crafted by Mumbai-based organization HaptikSystems, which neighborhood telecom giant Reliance Jio acquired past calendar year, and the info is becoming presented by the nation’s Ministry of Overall health.

“The ‘MyGov Corona Helpdesk’ has been engineered to combat rumors, educate the masses and convey a sense of relaxed to the present chaos-like circumstance. We are committed to aiding the authorities with all our doable strengths and methods and hope that this chatbot can assist the GoI spread the suitable data throughout the nation,” Aakrit Vaish, co-founder and chief govt of Haptik, instructed TechCrunch.

A screenshot of New Delhi’s WhatsApp bot

On Thursday, Modi urged the nation’s one.3 billion citizens to remain at household as significantly as possible for the next few days to protect against any “explosion” of coronavirus scenarios.

“For the previous number of days we have witnessed that people today consider we are risk-free from coronavirus. This is not correct. It is not ok to get complacent,” he reported in a nationwide televised physical appearance.

Extra than 250 folks have examined favourable for COVID-19 in India so much.

On Friday, India’s IT ministry issued an advisory to social media giants including Facebook,ByteDance, Twitter, and Sharechat, to get speedy steps to take away or disable pretend content material close to coronavirus.

“Intermediaries are urged to initiate consciousness marketing campaign on their platforms for the consumers not to upload/ circulate any wrong news/misinformation concerning coronavirus which are likely to build panic amongst community and disturb the general public purchase and social tranquility,” it said.

Before this week, the World Wellness Organization partnered with WhatsApp to build a helpline to provide men and women with precise wellness data similar to the coronavirus.

The WHO Overall health Inform offers strategies on how individuals could defend them selves, the hottest news updates and conclusions on the pandemic, and solutions to some of the usually requested inquiries. Men and women can signal up to this bot by clicking here.

In a statement, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-Normal of WHO, claimed, “digital engineering provides us an unprecedented chance for critical health details to go viral and distribute more rapidly than the pandemic, encouraging us preserve life and secure the susceptible. We are proud to have associates like Facebook and Whatsapp, that are supporting us in achieving billions of men and women with critical health and fitness facts.”

WhatsApp, which has been grappling with unfold of rumors about the pandemic, began achieving out to dozens of governments very last month to aid in their attempts to give correct facts to the basic public, it claimed.

“As aspect of our work to make absolutely sure anyone has exact and well timed facts about coronavirus, we’re performing with the Indian government and national governments close to the globe,” claimed Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook.

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