In a bid to counter the storm of fake news that has been spreading as fast as the virus in India, two Delhi professors have developed an app to help people follow correct information from the correct source.
Developed by professors Ponnurangam Kumaraguru and Dr Tavpritesh Sethi of Delhi's Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, the app, named "Wash Karo", provides bite-sized factoids, fact-checks and relevant information about coronavirus and related issues. The language used is Hindi and the app also provides the facts in audio format for those who cannot read or are visually impaired.
As compared to social media platforms such as Facebook and Whatsapp that serve as a platform for fake news, the Wash Karo app was designed to act as a forum for verified news and information related to coronavirus, which the makers told The New Indian Express, spread faster than the virus itself.
The app, which is available on apps stores, also provides a WHO-approved symptom tracker to enable people to assess their own health and keep tabs on any changes in their body. It additionally comes with a list of all government advisories related to coronavirus, collated from the official sources, and stored at the same spot for increased ease of access.
The app, which can currently be use don Android devices, comes as a blessing as Indians counter a barrage of fake news, especially ones with communal colour, flood social media through mass-messaging apps like WhatsApp.
It can help users track other coronavirus affected patients so that users can maintain distance from them as well as blue-tooth based social distancing systems. The AI-powered app functions even without internet connectivity. The app is only available for Android devices as of now and Tav Labs, which developed the app, is in the process of developing its iOS version as well. Launched earlier in the month, Wash Karo has already been downloaded by over 5,000 Android users.
With over 1,074 deaths, the current number of active coronavirus cases in India stands at 3,314.