Facebook launches fact-checking service on WhatsApp in Italy to fight coronavirus hoaxes


MILAN, April 2 (Reuters) - Facebook Inc. FB.O launched a service in Italy to check the accuracy of information on coronavirus circulating on its messaging platform WhatsApp, the U.S. tech firm said on Thursday.

In a fresh attempt to fight manipulated content, Facebook said it was working with local fact checking service Facta which is analysing content circulating on WhatsApp, including video, audio or photos.

Users can send content to Facta through a WhatsApp message to check it is authentic.

WhatsApp is the most popular messaging platform in Italy, the epicentre of a coronavirus outbreak in Europe.

Traffic on the platform has spiked since the government put the country under lockdown as users turned to social media to keep in touch with relatives and friends.

But the messaging app has also been a vehicle for hoaxes over alleged dramatic situations in hospitals and videos claiming that the virus, which has killed 13,915 people in Italy, had been created in a laboratory - or did not exist at all.

WhatsApp, which has 2 billion users worldwide, has been trying to find ways to stop the platform being used to spread fake news.

(Reporting by Elvira Pollina; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

((elvira.pollina@thomsonreuters.com; 0039 0266129486;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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