There have been a total of 14,628 confirmed cases of Coronavirus across the world with more than 14,000 coming in from China alone. The disease has claimed 305 lives so far and while it is spreading fast, misinformation about the same also continues to spread. The social media posts with false information are not only misleading people about the spread of coronavirus but are also giving false information about its cures.
Social networks are now facing pressure to ensure their platforms don’t incite panic as authorities try to address the coronavirus outbreak. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok are taking steps to address the spread of fake news about the coronavirus on its site.
Facebook’s plan of action against false Coronavirus information
Facebook has said that it will limit the spread of false information about the coronavirus on its platform by removing “false claims or conspiracy theories”. In a blog post, the social media giant said it will use its existing fact-checking mechanism to review and expose misinformation.
Facebook Head of Health Kang-Xing Jin said the firm would “remove content with false claims or conspiracy theories that have been flagged by leading global health organizations and local health authorities that could cause harm to people who believe them”.
Apart from this, Facebook said that it will notify individuals who had shared or were trying to share information that had been flagged as false. The social media platform said that it is focusing on “claims that are designed to discourage treatment” as well as posts about false cures of the coronavirus.
“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,” Jin said.
WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messaging app has had difficulties in combating false news but Instagram, which is also owned by Facebook, is also reportedly blocking certain hashtags linked to the virus and conduct “proactive sweeps” to remove content spreading misinformation about the virus.
Twitter’s effort to curb Coronavirus misinformation
Twitter reportedly said that there have been over 15 million tweets about the coronavirus in the last four weeks. To curb the misinformation around the disease, the microblogging site has launched a prompt that appears when users search for coronavirus encouraging them to use official channels – the World Health Organization or Centres for Disease Control – for information. Also, when Twitter users search for coronavirus, it shows them a large headline with the title “Know the facts”.
TikTok and fake news on Coronavirus
Short video app TikTok has also started sending a reminder to its users to report information they think might be harmful and has added a link to the WHO’s website. However, to see the additional information, users have to first search for “#coronavirus” and click to expand the information.
YouTube, the video streaming video site owned by Google has been investing to make sure accurate and authoritative information appears most often in searches. The platform also takes down videos containing hate speech, harassment, and messages that incite violence or scams – all of which violate its community guidelines. For coronavirus searches, YouTube said it was showing previews of text-based news articles along with a warning that developing stories can change quickly.
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