Our world has stopped functioning like it used to; lock down, social distancing and isolation are keeping us safe from catching coronavirus but unfortunately, have also given rise to misinformation and harmful conspiracy theories enticing people to damage public property and commit hate crimes. Therefore, it is imperative that you read and believe official and authentic information from Wold Health Organization and other local health authorities on causes, transmission and cure of the virus, and suggestions for safety to follow in case of symptoms.
Here are a number of steps taken by social platforms for easy and quick access to COVID-19 information.
Every search for COVID-19 or coronavirus shows a special results page which shows a count of cases, recoveries and fatalities. The page also shows information on the virus and how it spreads. A sidebar links to symptoms, prevention measures, updates on treatments and other statistics. The content is also localized for each location so along with global data, you also see local information.
Through educational pop-ups and COVID-19 Information Center on all variants of the Facebook app, mobile and web users can access guidelines, suggestions, and steps to take in case of infection. The information is acquired from WHO, CDC and country wise national and local health authorities.
Instagram released additional misinformation and educational features during the coronavirus outbreak. Users can search for credible sources for information via Instagram search and use stickers to promote posts with accurate information. The platform also released donation stickers for content shared on the app to help people find NGOs to extend support.
A recent article on WhatsApp’s website informs users on how they can stay connected and access accurate information during COVID-19 pandemic on its platform. Via a link, users can initiate a chat with a WHO representative for inquiries. People can also sign-up to receive WHO health alerts which provide statistics and tips related to virus every day.
More importantly, the content urges users to not believe and spread unverified information. Users are requested to fact check information before forwarding the message on. WhatsApp is a popular messaging app for dissemination of inaccurate information on everything, from world events, leaders, technology and now, misinformation on cures and causes of coronavirus.
Messaging app is used by UN health agencies and UNICEF to share the latest and most accurate information to people.
On YouTube’s platform, the homepage is used to direct users to WHO, CDC and local health authorities and organizations for COVID-19 updated information. The service has implemented authoritative sources in the search section of the app, and website, and also tagged videos related to COVID-19 with information panels that link to WHO for easy access, and quick fact-check of the viewed content.
Through Apple’s digital screening tools, people in the United States can access information from the ‘About COVID-19’ section at the bottom of the Start screening tab. In that section, users can access accurate and updated information for symptoms of COVID-19 from CDC.