Fact Check: No, McKinsey has NOT Developed This AI WhatsApp Bot For COVID-19 Related Medical Resources

As people face problems in getting oxygen cylinders, hospital beds etc. amid a huge spike of COVID-19 cases in India, a message is being shared on social media with a claim that McKinsey (McKinsey & Company is a global management consulting firm) has developed an AI-based WhatsApp bot that verifies the resources for COVID-19 related emergencies in real-time.

The message has a bot number (+1 234 517 8991) on which one can post a question on WhatsApp for oxygen and other help.

A Facebook user shared the message which read: “McKinsey team developed an AI based WhatApp bot which verifies the resources in real time. +1 234 517 8991 , save this number and post your question in WhatApp for oxygen and other help. Share with friends and family this service is for everyone. E.g. oxygen in Faridabad. This is something exceptional. Seems useful. https://lnkd.in/dF8nhzr Just type *COVID* and send and a bot will guide you further. lot of people found it useful and it gives verified leads.”

Here’s the link to the above post. Check the similar posts here, here, here and here.

Fact Check 

NewsMobile fact-checked the claim and found it to be misleading.

Firstly, we checked the number (+1 234 517 8991) in the viral message on WhatsApp. The description of the WhatsApp bot read: “Bot providing instant pan-India help for verified Oxygen, Hospital Beds, Ambulance and other highly sought-after medical resources. Just text ‘COVID’ to get started.” It also has an email ID ([email protected]) and a website link (https://introbot.co).

Subsequently, we found out that the WhatsApp bot was indeed working and it also suggested a number for our requirement. We also noticed that there was no mention of Mckinsey on that bot message.

We then checked the Twitter account of Mckinsey India and found out that they have denied the claim, made in the viral message.

Refuting the claim in the viral message, the management consulting firm tweeted, “Please be aware that a recent message being forwarded on WhatsApp (to individuals and groups) as well as on social media claiming that – McKinsey has developed an AI bot for COVID related matters- is not authentic nor is it endorsed by our firm.”

We then searched about IntroBot, which is mentioned in the WhatsApp message. We found that IntroBot has no links with Mckinsey.

IntroBot in a tweet said, “Our Whatsapp bot has been built by a passionate group of citizens working hard to save this country & we are not affiliated with McKinsey. We provide instant pan-India help for verified Oxygen, Hospital Beds and other sought-after medical resources.”

We also found other similar tweets by IntroBot in which they have said that the WhatsApp forward seemed to have been modified, unfortunately in some chain, and ended up getting associated with McKinsey.

We also found a tweet by a co-founder of IntraBot, Divyaansh Anuj, who wrote on the micro-blogging site, “@IntroBotAI is an authentic product built for a noble cause by @utkarsh_roy, myself, & a team of passionate citizens who’ve come together to solve this insane problem being faced by millions. We’re also confused about how @McKinseyIndia’s name was associated with this initiative.”

Hence, from the above information, it is clear that the claim is misleading.

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