Seven of the US’ biggest tech companies have released a joint statement pledging to fight coronavirus misinformation and fraud. Microsoft, Google, LinkedIn, Reddit, Twitter, and YouTube have all said they’ll work to “elevate authoritative content” and share vital updates.
“We’re helping millions of people stay connected while also jointly combating fraud and misinformation about the virus, elevating authoritative content on our platforms, and sharing critical updates in coordination with government healthcare agencies around the world,” the statement reads. “We invite other companies to join us as we work to keep our communities healthy and safe.”
Many of those companies have already begun to take action. Bing presents various different opinions on COVID-19 when searching it for it, as well as a timeline and links to official information at the top of the page. Yesterday, it released an interactive Bing Maps tool that helps users keep track of the spread.
Google has taken very similar measures, with a map and links to official guidance. On YouTube, the company is promoting links to WHO under every coronavirus video and was forced to backtrack amid controversy when it turned off ads for all virus-related videos.
Of course, in US news of late has been Google’s plans to launch a coronavirus screening website, which President Donald Trump suggested would be a nationwide service. In fact, it’ll only be available to those in the Bay Area of California.
Facebook links to the latest information from a country’s health authority. Twitter is doing similarly, while a coronavirus search on LinkedIn links to a page with the latest updates from WHO. Meanwhile, the front page of Reddit directs all users to the coronavirus subreddit, which has news, AMAs with doctors, and various other resources.
With hope, these measures will encourage other tech companies to join in and citizens to take it seriously. Either way, with some using the pandemic to exploit and scam users, it pays to stay vigilant despite the crisis.