Internet Companies Gather To Curb Spread Of Coronavirus Misinformation

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Tech companies are waging a war against the spread of misinformation regarding the coronavirus. Google, Facebook, and a few other platforms are trying to keep ahead of scammers, trolls, and others with malicious intent who misuse such global disasters to manipulate people.

Curbing Coronavirus Misinformation
 

Curbing Coronavirus Misinformation

Many tech companies participated in the meeting organized by the World Health Organization in Silicon Valley to discuss tactics like promoting reliable, credible information regarding the deadly virus. "(We must) combat the spread of rumors and misinformation," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told AFP recently.

Google initative

Google has already taken the initiative on its Search platform to reveal ad-free results regarding the virus, also known as COVID-19. Google is ensuring that viewers can see the official WHO information on top of the search results.

Joining Google are other social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Tencent, and TikTok. Facebook recently said in a statement that it is focusing on claims which, if relied on, could increase the likelihood of someone getting sick or not getting proper treatment.

Facebook Steps Up
 

Facebook Steps Up

"This includes claims related to false cures or prevention methods - like drinking bleach cures the coronavirus - or claims that create confusion about health resources that are available," Facebook head of health Kang-Xing Jin said in the post. The company is also blocking and restricting hashtags used on Instagram.

Facebook is also showcasing educational pop-up when users search for coronavirus on the platform. The tidbit of information is gathered from credible sources, the company says. Plus, Facebook is reportedly giving free advertising credits to organizations running coronavirus education campaigns.

Coronavirus Misinformation

Coronavirus Misinformation

Misinformation is also spread by bad actors to fuel distrust for the establishment in China or foment societal instability overall, according to the University of Washington biology professor Carl Bergstrom. Various misinformations like bogus treatments from snake oil has spiked the sale of such products.

However, this is again fake information. Worse, hackers have begun using coronavirus as a source to spread malware. Malware containing files with coronavirus updates or reports were mailed to many people in China and surrounding countries, including Japan.

Misinformation

Another step that internet companies have brought in is spiking the ranks of fact-checkers. Third parties like AFP, News Wire, and so on have been hired to sort through the hoards of data and reveal only the truth to enhance the awareness around the deadly virus.

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