In this week's Tuesday Tune-Up, we’re looking at some of the most recent actions undertaken by the major social media platforms in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Social platforms announce measures to tackle Covid-19 misinformation
There’s nothing like a global emergency to bring out the worst in fake news and misinformation. With rumours circulating from the absurd to the downright dangerous, here are some of the measures social platforms have announced to tackle this:
- Facebook kicked off a $1 million grant program to help the International Fact-Checking Network boost its capacity during the crisis.
- The social media giant also revealed plans to put a ‘coronavirus information centre’ at the top of News Feeds in some countries to direct users to vetted information.
- WhatsApp announced plans for a hub that will collate factual information.
- Twitter updated its safety policy to prohibit tweets that “could place people at a higher risk of transmitting COVID-19".
- Twitter will use its blue tick verification to confirm authoritative voices around the subject of the coronavirus.
- YouTube announced the rollout of a dedicated hub on its homepage for information related to the crisis.
- Pinterest has limited search results on terms like “coronavirus” so that Pinners only see reliable information from the World Health Organisation.
As misinformation becomes more and more prevalent during these times, expect to see social platforms continue rolling out more stringent measures to combat this.
Facebook rolls out an abundance of measures to help the community
With businesses, large and small, feeling the effect of this pandemic, Facebook has launched several initiatives aimed at supporting businesses to stay afloat and streamline communications in the current climate.
Facebook has revealed plans of a $100 million grant program to help small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The cash is earmarked for 30,000 small and mid-sized businesses in more than 30 countries to help with rent or operational costs.
Workplace, Facebook’s internal comms platform, will be free-of-charge for Government agencies and emergency services for the next 12 months to assist with the coronavirus crisis.
The platform has also said that its developer partners will provide free services to health organisations and UN health agencies so they can use Messenger to scale their response to the crisis.
World Health Organisation launches WhatsApp chatbot
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has launched a chatbot on WhatsApp to provide information on the coronavirus pandemic. After texting 'Hi' to begin chatting, people will be able to access official information about the virus. The WHO says that information will be updated daily and it’s currently only available in English. Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, and Spanish are to follow in "coming weeks".
World Health Organisation goes live on TikTok
The WHO last week held two live streams on short video platform TikTok. It shared tips on staying safe and preventing the spread of the coronavirus, and answered questions in real-time. Check out the WHO’s TikTok profile here for its latest content.
Snapchat releases mental health platform early
Snapchat is looking to support its users’ mental health during the coronavirus crisis, by announcing the early rollout of its ‘Here For You’ feature. The platform says that Here For You “will show safety resources from local experts when Snapchatters search for certain topics, including those related to anxiety, depression, stress, grief, suicidal thoughts, and bullying.” Here For You has also been expanded to surface mental health resources when users search Snapchat for terms such as "coronavirus" and "COVID-19."
Spike in Snapchat downloads keeping virtual meetings interesting
Whilst everyone is getting accustomed to all meetings being held on Zoom, BlueJeans or Google Hangouts, some are turning to Snapchat to keep the fun in the workplace.
Snapchat’s camera tool, Snap Camera, allows people to overlay their faces with an augmented reality filter, turning them into a talking toilet paper roll (topical) or slice of pizza—or evening out skin tone for those who would prefer not to apply makeup while working at home.
Brands show what to and what NOT to do during a pandemic
Some of the biggest brands in the world have quickly mobilised to flex their creativity and establish ways to support the world in its time of need. LVMH has shifted their production capabilities to produce hand-sanitiser. Even some of the world's best museums and art galleries have opened their digital doors to the public.
On the flip-side, Australia’s very own Gerry Harvey has been absolutely roasted, and rightfully so, for admitting to capitalising on the pandemic. #BoycottHarveyNorman has been trending across social media, with many outraged at the billionaire owner for bragging about the coronavirus presenting an “opportunity” for his brand to increase its sales during an interview on Nine’s 60 Minutes. Not exactly what you want to see from Australia’s biggest advertising spender.
Nextdoor mobilises Australian communities
Australians have flocked to the social platform Nextdoor in an effort to connect with their neighbours. Nextdoor – which connects neighbourhoods to one another online – has just rolled out 'Help Map', a feature that lets neighbours raise their hand and elect to help their at-risk neighbours during the pandemic.
The platform has seen four times their usual sign-ups in Australia this month, with small businesses, local councils and public service providers all backing the platform to encourage Australians to help those around them in need.
This edition of the Tuesday Tune-Up was prepared by Ben Mayor, with additional reporting by Lauren Underwood.