As Covid-19 spreads around the world, last week Ireland saw another issue spread like wildfire. Misinformation. It’s impossible to know where it all came from because it was happening on WhatsApp. Messages from “best-mates” and “a friends who work in a hospital” bounced from smartphone to smartphone in record time. Another message spread that Revolut was in trouble. While I could dive into the potential sources of these rumours, it’s more important that I focus on what’s being done about it.
Using WhatsApp For Good
Technology has a part to play in this crisis. From mass being streamed online to hot dinners being delivered without contact by Just Eat. WhatsApp has 2 billion users worldwide. This means it’s a powerful platform for spreading information, whether it’s accurate or not.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) had a choice to make. Resist WhatsApp as a platform or embrace it. On Friday, Simon Harris, Ireland’s Minister for Health, decided to embrace it, disseminating a WhatsApp voice message. Personally, I listened waiting for it to be a funny impersonation with a punchline. It wasn’t. This was Simon Harris knowing that people would do what I did. Listen to the whole thing and absorb good quality information. Harris knew the power of the platform and now it’s clear the WHO does too.
WHO Launches Covid-19 WhatsApp Information Service
The WHO has decided to embrace WhatsApp. They’ve launched an information service through WhatsApp. This is now one of the easiest and fastest ways to get up to date information from a trustworthy source, right into your hand.
To get the information, all you need to do is text “hi” to +41 79 893 1892 over WhatsApp. You’ll then be sent a menu from the WHO which offers information on Covid-19. Available information includes:
- Latest statistics
- How to protect yourself
- Covid-19 myths
- Travel advice
- How to donate
When presented with this menu, you just have to reply with a number. So for example, you reply 1 to get the latest numbers or 5 for travel advise.
To try it out for yourself, text “hi” to +41 79 893 1892, or if you’re on mobile, tap the button below.
Times are tough right now, but let the professionals do their thing. All you need to do, is stay home, stay apart and wash your hands. It’s that simple. Get your info from trusted sources and question everything you’re sent on WhatsApp.