Social networks against disinformation about the coronavirus

Social networks against disinformation about the coronavirus

© Provided by Agencia EFE

Madrid, Mar 22 (EFE) .- Social networks in times of confinement due to the coronavirus smoke with so much activity and all kinds of information circulate through them, so they have taken measures to try to keep users protected from hoaxes.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or WhatsApp work in collaboration with the authorities, especially health authorities, to alert Internet users to the hoaxes that have been around since the start of the crisis and guarantee reliable and verified information.

The most obvious measure for users is the pop-up windows or the messages that appear when you want to access information about the Covid-19.

A search for the word coronavirus and other related ones or the use of a tag leads to the following message on Twitter: “Know the facts. Make sure you have the best information about the coronavirus (Covid-19). Know the resources available from the Ministry of Health “, along with a link to the page of this ministerial department, with which they work.

In early February, Twitter launched a new search alert service, which appears prominently when searching for information about #coronavirus, ensuring that the first thing displayed is “accurate and authoritative information,” it says on its blog.

The WHO website is the one proposed by Facebook and Instagram, with the message: Are you looking for information about the coronavirus? Check the latest information from the World Health Organization (WHO) to take care of yourself and prevent the virus from spreading. “

Facebook – owner of Instagram and WhatsApp – works with administrations at the international and local levels and has “open lines of communication” with organizations such as the WHO, the director of communication of that social network in Spain, Lola Banos, explains to Efe.

It is also about ending disinformation, for which, he says, “efforts have been increased to discredit any erroneous content related to the coronavirus.”

Facebook removes content about claims and conspiracy theories that have been debunked by WHO and other health experts, while Instagram hashtags used to spread disinformation will be blocked and restricted.

Both networks also work with external data verifiers, which when they classify a content as false, a gray warning screen appears, linking to the explanation given by the verifier.

As for the advertising policies, -says Banos- “they are banning ads and removing content that may be harmful to health.”

Likewise, Twitter indicates in its blog that it will stop any attempt by advertisers “to use opportunistically” the Covid-19 to make “inappropriate” advertising.

In addition, it will require people to delete messages from their accounts that, among other reasons, contradict the recommendations of the health authorities; describe harmful treatments; cause panic or point out certain nationalities as more likely to get sick.

Thus, you are prohibited as: social distancing is not effective; drinking bleach cures the Covid-19; Coronavirus does not affect children or they have just announced that food will not arrive for two months, go to your store as soon as possible and buy everything.

In order to “raise and expand” authorized health information, Twitter collaborates with “expert organizations, official government accounts, health professionals, and epidemiologists.”

But if there is a device through which audios or videos are sent, those are mobile phones, through WhatsApp.

On Facebook, to which it belongs, they are committing to do their part “to face viral messages”, for which some changes have been made, says Banos.

For example, reduce to five the chats to which one message can be forwarded at the same time and the creation of the “forwarded” and “highly forwarded” labels – one or two almost superimposed arrows in the upper left corner of the message-, which indicate that the sender has not created it.

The messages and calls are encrypted and, although WhatsApp cannot see or hear them, “it can know when a content has been forwarded,” sources at the service explain to Efe.

The WHO has created this week WhatsApp Health Alert, to answer questions about Covid-19 and offer official information, fast and reliable. At the moment it is only in English (+41 79 893 1892), but it will shortly be in the official languages ​​of the United Nations, including Spanish.

(c) EFE Agency


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