Jennifer for COVID-19: An NLP-Powered Chatbot Built for the People and by the People to Combat Misinformation

Just as SARS-CoV-2, a new form of coronavirus continues to infect a growing number of people around the world, harmful misinformation about the outbreak also continues to spread. With the goal of combating misinformation, we designed and built Jennifer{--}a chatbot maintained by a global group of volunteers. With Jennifer, we hope to learn whether public information from reputable sources could be more effectively organized and shared in the wake of a crisis as well as to understand issues that the public were most immediately curious about. In this paper, we introduce Jennifer and describe the design of this proof-of-principle system. We also present lessons learned and discuss open challenges. Finally, to facilitate future research, we release COVID-19 Question Bank, a dataset of 3,924 COVID-19-related questions in 944 groups, gathered from our users and volunteers.

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