How Social Media Giants Are Combating The Spread Of Misinformation About 2019-nCoV
With the coronavirus spreading to new places across the world, international panic continues to ensue online. To keep misinformation about the disease and outbreak from causing unnecessary alarm, social media platforms have begun moderating content related to the disease in an attempt to control the virality of false, disease-oriented information.
Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg updated the company's statement on coronavirus information on March 3, outlining that the company is offering free advertising to the World Health Organisation and other organisations for their coronavirus response efforts. Simultaneously, the company will be removing "false claims and conspiracy theories that have been flagged by leading global health organisations." Searching for the name of the disease on the platform will provide users with the most recent information regarding the outbreak provided by either local or international health authorities.
On Instagram, hashtags which are often used to spread misinformation about the virus will be blocked or restricted. Content shared containing false info about the disease and its spread will be removed.
Like on Facebook, users who conduct coronavirus-related searches will be provided with an "educational pop-up with credible information." Furthermore, health organisations will be given free ad credits to run informative coronavirus campaigns.
Twitter and Youtube
Searching for the virus on Twitter will provide users with a link to the website of relevant health authorities where they can find the latest information about the outbreak. Likewise on YouTube, the first search result is a link to the World Health Organisation's site.
Pinterest has radically limited the search results that are generated when a user uses a search term like the coronavirus. In fact, the only pins that pop up are from internationally-recognised health organisations like the WHO. The only results displayed are those that advise people on how to stay healthy and hygienic amidst the outbreak.
In addition to these initiatives, some of these companies like Twitter are encouraging employees to stay out of the office to reduce the chance of the virus spreading among workers. Though each is trying to minimise panic resulting from false information, each is correspondingly encouraging their platform members to take the threat seriously and keep themselves safe.
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