WhatsApp is the go-to messaging application in India with the highest monthly active users in the world. With this kind of strength, the application can become an efficient medium to spread information or even mis-information in some instances. Forwarded messages related politics, health, people are sent in millions creating a large data base of unverified information moving within the chats. The company has paired to some fact checkers in the past to help debunk 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, a signatory of International Fact Checking Network (IFCN) works with verified medical professionals to fact check misleading news and claims about health, medicine, diet and treatment. The platform publishes in English, Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi, Gujarati, and Nepali.
Raksha stands for Readily Accessible Knowledge and Support for Health Action. It is built on the WhatsApp Business platform and it can be used by Indian citizens to find answers to fact-check any health information for free. Apart from that users can also get their health questions answered directly. Users can also further subscribe to daily health tips or play a quiz to evaluate their health knowledge. The chatbot is currently in English but the company confirmed that a Hindi and Bengali version will be launched soon.
How to access RAKSHA on WhatsApp
To access the chatbot and start a conversation with RAKSHA, users will just need to send a “Hi” to the number +91-85078-85079 on WhatsApp.
Shivnath Thukral, Public Policy Director, WhatsApp India, said, “We’re pleased to support the launch of ‘Ask RAKSHA’ – The Healthy Indian Project’s chatbot built on the WhatsApp Business platform that will help users access credible health related information from the independent third-party fact-checker, certified by International Fact-Checking Network. At WhatsApp, the safety of our users is at the core of everything we do and we have devoted efforts to empower users with resources and tools that equip them to fact-check and receive authentic information. Over the last two years we have partnered with multiple NGOs and government ministries, including the Indian Government to launch the MyGov Corona Helpdesk on WhatsApp to help people with easy access to accurate and verified Covid related information. Ask RAKSHA is yet another partnership to ensure citizens have access to reliable information around health related queries.”
Sudipta Sengupta, CEO of The Healthy Indian Project (THIP), said, “We are thankful to WhatsApp for the support in building this chatbot. It helps us extend THIP Media’s objective of making credible health information available to all Indians and also save them from health misinformation. It’s a good feeling to be able to launch this on the eve of International Fact Checking Day and World Health Day.”
WhatsApp is the go-to messaging application in India with the highest monthly active users in the world. With this kind of strength, the application can become an efficient medium to spread information or even mis-information in some instances. Forwarded messages related politics, health, people are sent in millions creating