Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Reddit, Twitter, and YouTube have issue a joined statement on the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak to fight misinformation about the virus.
The statement, shared on the organisations’ social media accounts, explains that they are working closely together in coordination with government healthcare agencies around the world on COVID-19 response efforts.
— Facebook Newsroom (@fbnewsroom) March 17, 2020
The full statement reads, “We are working closely together on COVID-19 response efforts. We’re helping millions of people stay connected while also jointly combating fraud and misinformation about the virus, elevating authoritative content on our platforms, and sharing critical updates in coordination with government healthcare agencies around the world. We invite other companies to join us as we work to keep our communities healthy and safe.”
Although the joint statement doesn’t go into details on what each company will do to prevent the spreading of misinformation about COVID-19, in the past few weeks, the majority of the companies involved have taken steps to proactively fight fake news about the virus.
Facebook has introduced a box into users’ news feed that redirects to the World Health Organisation (WHO), or a specific local authority, for the latest information.
In a Facebook post, CEO’s Mark Zuckerberg explained, “Given the developing situation, we’re working with national ministries of health and organisations like the WHO, CDC and UNICEF to help them get out timely, accurate information on the coronavirus. We’re giving the WHO as many free ads as they need for their coronavirus response along with other in-kind support.”
Facebook has also offered free ads to the WHO for their coronavirus response along with other in-kind support.
Similarly, Twitter is redirecting all search results for “coronavirus” to authoritative international health organisations, such as the WHO.
As reported on Bloomberg, last week Google has also taken further steps to reduce misinformation by showing an “SOS Alert” with news from authorised entities, such as the World Health Organisation, displayed prominently.
Reddit, on the other hand, had launched a dedicated AMA® series in response to public health concerns about coronavirus. In a blog post published at the beginning of March, the social platform explained, “Throughout the coming weeks, communities around Reddit will host AMA sessions with medical professionals, health organizations, and authoritative voices on coronavirus and its impact.”