In an effort to fact-check news surrounding COVID-19, the Ministry of Health (MOH) is setting up a WhatsApp chatbot for the public. While it is currently available for us to use right now, the chatbot is still far from ready.
In their Telegram channel, the MOH had posted about the service along with a QR code the public can use to launch the WhatsApp chatbot in their own phones. The ministry also said the chatbot was to “ensure Malaysians would get the most accurate information on COVID-19 and, armed with that knowledge, are able to help the government curb its spread.”
You can also click here to start communicating with the bot.
“With this WhatsApp chatbot, users will no longer need to wait online to get answers. So make this chatbot a part of your reference materials today,” they wrote.
However, according to their graphic, they mentioned that the bot is ‘coming soon’—even though they have officially announced it. When we tried to communicate with the WhatsApp bot, it did respond to us for a bit, but when we tried to use it a little further it just stopped responding.
As for the responses, when we tried to ask the latest information of COVID-19, the bot just responded by sending us a link to their website—which seems a bit redundant. It would be a lot more helpful if they sent us the updates seen on their social media instead.
It might take a while for their WhatsApp chatbot to work out their kinks, but they didn’t say when it would be ready. Even so, you can still use the QR code above to connect to MOH’s verified business account called the CPRC (Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre).
If you’d like to chat with a working WhatsApp bot that helps fact-check worldwide COVID-19 information, you can check out the one made by Poynter Institute. You’ll be able to ask it specific questions by typing a word or short sentence.
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