The World Health Organisation (WHO) thanked global technology giants for helping spread relevant information and taking down misinformation regarding the Coronavirus outbreak.
It's time for facts, not fear.— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) January 31, 2020
We appreciate @Google, @Facebook, @TencentGlobal, @Tiktok and @Twitter's efforts to combat misinformation and rumors on #2019nCoV & direct users to reliable sources. We ask all digital companies to step up and help the world beat this outbreak.
In a tweet, the WHO's Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus thanked Google, Twitter, Facebook, Tencent, and TikTok for their efforts to tackle misinformation regarding the virus that has claimed hundreds of lives. The Director-General also asked all digital firms across the world to step up and help flag misinformation and defeat the outbreak.
Google, on Thursday, launched the SOS alert in collaboration with WHO to make information easily accessible. The results will include safety tips, situation updates, and other resources from the WHO. The firm also issued a $250,000 direct grant to the Chinese Red Cross.
Facebook has also taken up steps to deal with misinformation regarding the virus. In a statement, the firm said "Our global network of third-party fact-checkers are continuing their work reviewing content and debunking false claims that are spreading related to the coronavirus. When they rate information as false, we limit its spread on Facebook and Instagram and show people accurate information from these partners." The firm has also partnered with Harvard University’s School of Public Health and National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan 'by sharing aggregated and anonymized mobility data and high resolution population density maps to help inform their forecasting models for the spread of the virus as part of our broader Data for Good program.'
Keeping People Safe and Informed About the Coronavirus https://t.co/DZ1R5EMr3u— Facebook Newsroom (@fbnewsroom) January 31, 2020
The steps come hours after the WHO declared the declared the outbreak of the virus a global public health emergency.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, "We don’t know what sort of damage this virus could do if it were to spread in a country with a weaker health system. We must act now to help countries prepare for that possibility. For all of these reasons, I am declaring a public health emergency of international concern over the global outbreak of novel coronavirus. The main reason for this declaration is not because of what is happening in China, but because of what is happening in other countries. Our greatest concern is the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems, and which are ill-prepared to deal with it."