As the coronavirus death toll in China increases, social media platforms and global health groups are working together to eliminate or at least reduce the spread of false reports about the CoViD-2019 strain.
WHO Works with Social Media Platforms
In an op-ed for the South China Morning Post, World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and vice-president of Tencent Healthcare Dr. Alex Ng urged social media companies to work with the WHO in battling questionable rumors spreading through different platforms.
As part of the efforts in eliminating coronavirus rumors, Google launched an SOS Alert feature that will help direct people to appropriate information provided by the WHO whenever internet goers use the platform to search about the new coronavirus.
Facebook joined the efforts by launching a new feature that urges users in many countries to drop by the official WHO page if they are in search of accurate information about the virus strain.
In China, Tencent is helping anti-rumor efforts by promoting articles curated by the organization and also verifies information being posted on the platform to help strengthen the front against coronavirus hoaxes.
YouTube Builds Strong Font
Aside from Facebook, Tencent, and Google, YouTube, whish is owned by Google, has also been hard at work in removing videos that may be spreading lies about the CoViD-2019.
Verified news providers will be brought up for users who search "coronavirus" or "Wuhan" on the YouTube search box, BuzzFeed reported. The ultimate goal is to push up quality and fact-checked content on top of the search results while pushing down conspiracy theories that may include false reports.
Despite its efforts in fighting the rumor mill, the video-sharing platform still has a lot of work to do in getting viral videos with falsified claims out of its system. The fight continues, especially at a time when people use the internet and social media more than ever in search of coronavirus data.
Pinterest Joins Hands with WHO
In efforts to also stop the spread of images providing myths about the Wuhan coronavirus, Pinterest now show content directly provided by the WHO to ensure that people will only see facts about the virus, CBS affiliate KPIX 5 reported.
Digital content manager for WHO Andrew Pattison noted that while the organization will continue to lead the battle against coronavirus myths and conspiracy theories, world health authorities cannot win the fight alone.
Pattison has been going around Silicon Valley over the past few days, ensuring that social media platforms and search engines are aware of the WHO's goals of removing irrelevant and falsified reports that could mislead people about the coronavirus.
Twitter Leads the Way
Late last month, Twitter revealed that it has taken the necessary measures to ensure that "malicious behaviors" on the platform, especially during the coronavirus outbreak, will be stopped at all costs.
The social media platform said it will remove accounts showing such behavior, CBC reported. At the time of posting, the platform also said that over 15 million tweets were posted regarding the Wuhan coronavirus.
It is unclear just how many accounts Twitter has banned since the coronavirus tweeting rampage started. On the other hand, deepfake videos have also started being erased from the platform.
Deepfakes are videos that are altered using artificial intelligence (AI) to make it appear as if someone is saying something that wasn't even said in the first place. Such video-altering can also reach the extent through which a person appears to do something he didn't do.
Doctors Chime In
Over the past few weeks, a growing assembly of doctors, medical experts, and health specialists have been posting on social media about the Wuhan coronavirus in hopes of providing more accurate information about the disease.
According to a Forbes contribution report, doctors are now using social media to better educate the public about things they should know regarding the coronavirus.
Some doctors are going the extra mile by posting daily updates about the coronavirus. Other experts also take the time to sit down and answer people who may be confused with some information they read online.