WhatsApp creates coronavirus info hub, donates $1M to fight fake news

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, international messaging platform WhatsApp will provide a $1 million grant to fight COVID-19-related fake news and misinformation, according to a press release. The company has also created a Coronavirus Information Hub in partnership with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the United Nations Development Programme and the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), to help users access the latest official health information and connect with friends and family while social distancing.

The $1 million grant will go to the IFCN, and will support journalism from the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus alliance -- a project created by the IFCN in January that includes more than 100 fact-checkers in 45 countries.

"The timely donation from WhatsApp will help the fact checks published by the CoronaVirusFacts Alliance reach a wider audience and help people sort fact from fiction during this avalanche of information that WHO called an 'infodemic," Baybars Orsek, director of the IFCN, said in the release.

WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, joins other tech companies in efforts to help out during the coronavirus pandemic. Facebook said it would be offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 small businesses impacted by the virus worldwide. And Google, Facebook and other tech firms are reportedly in discussions with the US government over how they can help fight the novel coronavirus with location data collected from people's phones.

WhatsApp didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.