In an unprecedented move to reassure customers and flag the potential for misinformation about COVID-19 on their platforms, all of the major social media companies and their parent corporations issued a joint statement on their efforts.
“We invite other companies to join us as we work to keep our communities healthy and safe,” the statement read.
Last week, U.S Chief Technology Officer Michael Michael Kratsios held a remote meeting with representatives from major tech companies on how to coordinate various efforts related to COVID-19, including fighting disnformation. The Washington Post and Politico reported that the White House asked Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, IBM, Cisco and Twitter for help.
The World Health Organization’s director-general said last month that disinformation is as dangerous as COVID-19. During an address at the Munich Security conference on Feb. 15, almost a month before the WHO officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said “We’re not just fighting an epidemic; we’re fighting an infodemic. Fake news spreads faster and more easily than this virus, and is just as dangerous.”
But tech companies aren’t just battling the spread of questionable posts by the public. They also have to contend with misleading information in several of President Donald Trump’s public statements on COVID-19, including his tweets and Facebook posts.
TechCrunch has contacted each of the companies in the joint statement for more details, and will update this post as we hear back from them.
In response to an email, a LinkedIn spokesperson directed TechCrunch to a post published by the company on March 13, with links to information about finding trustworthy news sources and working remotely.
Facebook’s efforts to fight disinformation about COVID-19 have included information cards on Instagram and Facebook, that redirect to sources like the World Health Organization or local health authorities.