To reassure customers and flag the potential for misinformation about COVID-19 on their platforms, major social media companies and their parent corporations issued a joint statement on their efforts.
“We invite other companies to join us as we work to keep our communities healthy and safe,” read the statement signed by Facebook, Reddit, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube.
The World Health Organization said that disinformation is as dangerous as COVID-19. During an address at the Munich Security conference on Feb. 15, Un director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “We’re not just fighting an epidemic; we’re fighting an infodemic. Fake news spreads faster and more easily than this virus, and is just as dangerous.”
But tech companies aren’t just battling the spread of fake news, but also have to contend with misleading information in several pronouncements of government officials – e.g. in the US, President Donald Trump’s public statements on COVID-19, including his tweets and Facebook posts.
The statement does not go into details how the effort/s will be done; but per company, moves have already been made to monitor Covid-19-related information online.
Twitter shared the company’s update to its strategy for monitoring tweets during the outbreak, including “reviewing the Twitter rules in the context of COVID-19 and considering the ways in which they may need to evolve to account for new account behavior.”
Google CEO Sundar Pichai published two blog posts on this topic.
Meanwhile, Facebook’s efforts to fight disinformation include redirecting to sources like the World Health Organization or local health authorities.