The coronavirus pandemic continues to worsen with the total number of global deaths crossing 10,000, tech companies have been trying to help by spreading awareness around the outbreak. Players like Google, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter and others are working to highlight official resources around the outbreak. We take a look at what each player is doing to make sure that users get the right information regarding COVID-19
Currently Google is running the ‘DO THE FIVE’ campaign on its homepage. The campaign will list out the tips to help stop coronavirus spread. The recommendations are:
1 HANDS: Wash them often
2 ELBOW: Cough into it
3 FACE: Don’t touch it
4 SPACE: Keep safe distance
5 FEEL sick?: Stay home
Clicking on it takes you to search page with Coronavirus tips, and notes that this is a Public Service Announcement. The Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare logo can also be seen on one side. The top links are from WHO, CDC, etc below the news box, and Google is showcasing official resources.
Google’s YouTube is also highlighting the official sources around the coronavirus.If open the website, there is popup from YouTube, which shows an alert directing users to the WHO website or the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW). In fact searching for coronavirus in YouTube, the first result is actually a ticker linking to the MoHFW website for more information. And each video has the same ticker displaying below it prominently.
Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp
Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp have all announced measures around the coronavirus awareness campaign. For starters, Facebook has announced a Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information Center, which will be featured at the top of News Feed. This will be a central hub to provide information to the latest news along with resources and tips to stay healthy.
Facebook is rolling out the information centre in Italy, France, Germany, Spain, the UK and the US first, and will expand it to more countries in the coming days. The centre will also come with real-time updates from national health authorities and global organisations such as the WHO along with articles, videos, and posts on social distancing and preventing the spread of COVID-19.
In the News Feed, Facebook will start giving updates from health authorities as well. There is an alert around the coronavirus, which takes people to the website link. In the US, people will see features to help them connect with local groups and ask for or offer help within their community.
On Instagram too, the app will show a call-to-action message right on top which again alerts about COVID-19 and includes a link to the WHO website. If you search for the #coronavirus tag on Instagram, a notification pops up which says ‘Looking for coronavirus info’ followed by a link to the WHO website or the option to go to posts around the topic. Like its parent company, Instagram too is directing users to the WHO website for authentic and update to resources on the topic.
WhatsApp has announced a dedicated coronavirus information hub, which is available at “whatsapp.com/coronavirus” and this again directs users to official sources such as WHO. It will give “simple, actionable guidance for health workers, educators, community leaders, nonprofits, local governments and local businesses” who are using the app to stay in touch with their friends and family, along with general tips on how to stay safe. The website also reminds users to not forward false information around the topic and that they should check the veracity for any claim before it.
In India, there is MYGOV Corona helpdesk as well available on WhatsApp to contact the official resources around the outbreak. The number is +91 9013151515.
Given the popularity of TikTok, especially with a younger audience in countries like India and US, an awareness campaign around COVID-19 on this platform would be essential. TikTok already has a COVID-19 section, which shows facts around the top along with a counter showing the number of real-time infections, the total deaths, etc. The source is WHO, and it is updated as WHO updates its data.
The section also includes an FAQ, tips on how to stay protected, etc. TikTok also has a #SafeHands challenge running on the platform with the WHO in partnership to promote washing of hands to keep oneself protected against the virus. Videos under the campaign also show why soap is effective against the virus.
“COVID-19” to share real-time information on the number of cases and deaths due to the virus in the world and India. Further, the app has also shared an elaborated FAQs related to Coronavirus from WHO. To spread awareness on effective preventive measures as per the guidelines of WHO, TikTok has also created a video library on the platform. The information is easy to access, reliable and easy to share as well.
On the Twitter, the latest update from coronavirus appear right on top, and next to it, the ‘Do the Five’ campaign is being highlighted. Twitter too has a dedicated hub for updates around the outbreak, which includes information on the topic. If you search with #COVID19 on Twitter, on top of the results, there is a notification saying ‘Know the Facts’ and with links to WHO or the MoHFW website for verified information. The same appears for searching for #Coronavirus on the platform.
Snap will roll out its ‘Here For You’ search tool to help those who are feeling anxious or stressed about the pandemic. This was originally scheduled to launch in April, though it was announced in February. The tool is supposed to provide resources from mental health experts to those users who might be feeling depressed, anxious, etc and search for it on the app. But it will now have coronavirus-specific section as well.
According to a report on the Verge, the tool will given Snapchat’s users access to information from WHO, CDC, NHS, etc and other partners who will be creating content around the coronavirus outbreak and anxiety related to it. The tool will be available to most Snapchat users next week, adds the report.
VMate is another short video platform, which is popular in rural India. They have been running campaigns under ‘Corona Par Haavi’ and ‘Oh Na Na Corona’, to encourage users to make videos around the topic. The themes have seen more than 15,500 and 18,400 videos respectively so far. The platform also has a dedicated section on the issue, focused at providing necessary tips to people.