A fact-checking chatbot for COVID-19.

Social media is a major culprit in the spreading of disinformation regarding the pandemic. But, fact-checking everything yourself is a chore, too. Which is why we brought VRT NWS’s fact-checking column to Facebook Messenger.
A fact-checking chatbot for COVID-19.
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What did we do?

💬
Conversation Design
🛠
Front- & Backend Development

What's been bothering them?

VRT NWS has been making efforts to get rid of false claims, rumors, and other fake news for quite some time now. Their recently initiated 'Check' column attests to that. As a national public-service broadcaster, VRT has to combat this influx of disinformation. Especially now during the pandemic, where people are spending more time online than ever. Supplying them with correct information is paramount. Their challenge, however, is not demystifying or debunking the fake news itself, but reaching as many people as possible.

How did we fix it?

Our proposition was two-fold: not only did we want to bring the right information, provided by VRT, to more people, but we also wanted to make the fact-checking process itself more convenient and personalized. Our solution took the form of a chatbot, integrated with Facebook Messenger. This chatbot can easily be accessed via the Facebook page of VRT NWS. We opted for an easy-to-maintain Airtable CMS, set up our bot management system (BMS) using Flow.ai, and have MongoDB take care of the subscriptions.

What are the results?

Just hours after release, the chatbot had already gathered over 1,000 unique conversations, 200 subscribers of daily or weekly fact-checks, and 175 fact-checking requests. It's clear there's a demand for accurate news and information, and people are waking up to the idea there's a lot of false information flying around.

Design sprint
Execution sprint
Launch sprint
Iteration sprints

What did the process look like?

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Here’s what the final product can do!

Let's explore the features our chatbot has to offer, shall we?

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Easy access on Facebook.

The chatbot is integrated with Facebook Messenger, which is linked to the official Facebook page of VRT NWS. Simply send a message to the page and you'll be prompted to either ask a question or interact with the chatbot.

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Subscribe, or send in a request.

The current version of the chatbot is still being fine-tuned, however, users have the possibility to subscribe to daily or weekly fact checks. Also, feel free to send in an article, post, or piece of information you're unsure or skeptical about. VRT NWS will get to the bottom of it and keep you updated.

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Gil Nimmegeers
CO-FOUNDER
gil@bothrs.com