With rising false information around coronavirus pandemic, South Africa took stringent measure against it by making it a crime, punishable by up to six months in prison, a fine, or both. The government announced several measures to contain the spread of coronavirus including curb on misinformation floating on social media.
Misinformation has become a major issue creating problems for governments and public health agencies in combating the virus. US tech giants including Google, Facebook, and Twitter, assured in a statement that they are working closely together on the novel coronavirus response efforts including jointly combating fraud and misinformation about the coronavirus.
“We’re helping millions of people stay connected while also...elevating authoritative content on our platforms, and sharing critical updates in coordination with government healthcare agencies around the world,” read the statement.
Instagram Communications had said in a series of tweets that they were removing known harmful misinformation related to COVID-19. It said that if someone taps on a hashtag related to COVID-19, it will show resources from the World Health Organisation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and local health authorities.
Instagram also started sending posts that may be misleading to its fact-checking partners for review and blocking and restricting hashtags that are being used to spread misinformation.
To help people get relevant and up-to-date resources, we will start showing more information from @WHO and local health ministries at the top of Instagram’s Feed in some countries. pic.twitter.com/czAHYItlEx— Instagram Comms (@InstagramComms) March 13, 2020
According to the latest report, over 220k coronavirus cases have been confirmed worldwide with death toll almost 9,000. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended to isolate, test and treat every suspected case, and trace every contact, making it the backbone of the response in every country. WHO chief said that many countries are listening to our call and finding solutions to increase their ability to implement the full package of measures that have turned the tide in several countries.