Twitter has taken a new step to put a stop to disinformation about the outbreak of the coronavirus in China. The social media giant in a tweet on Wednesday said it wants to help users access “credible information” about public health its platform.
According to Twitter, its search prompt in key countries have are being adjusted to fight against fake news about the coronavirus. “We’ve adjusted our search prompt in key countries across the globe to feature authoritative health sources when you search for terms related novel #coronavirus.”
We want to help you access credible information, especially when it comes to public health.
— Twitter Public Policy (@Policy) January 29, 2020
Twitter’s latest effort is not different from previous action taken to fight against disinformation about vaccine on its platform. The vaccine effort encourages people to “know the facts,” while equally directing vaccine-related searches to vaccine.org, a Department of Health and Human Services [HHS] site.
While this may not completely eradicate the spread of fake news about the virus, it could at least help to sensitize the public.
In related news, Google has announced the temporary closure of its offices in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Since the outbreak of the deadly virus in China, tech companies have been making frantic efforts to protect staff and also sensitize members of the public on how to avoid getting infected. Google confirmed this move to The Verge on Wednesday in a move that will affect all its offices in China.
A Google spokesperson said the company plans to keep its offices closed in accordance with the safety measures put in place by the Chinese government. As a result of this, temporary business travel restrictions on flying to mainland China and Hong Kong. Furthermore, the company has advised its employees currently in China as well as those who have families in that country to return home as soon as possible to work from home for a minimum of 14 days from the date of their departure.
Apple and Facebook have both taken similar measures to protect its staff and ensure everyone one of them is safe. On Tuesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced his company’s plans on restrictions. The company said it has closed down at least one retail store in China and is measuring the temperature of its employees regularly, while aggressively cleaning office spaces.
The coronavirus, which originated from the Chinese city of Wuhan has led to the death of at least 132 people with confirmed cases of more than 6,000 people. Google’s investment in China is substantial, which makes it easy to understand why the company had to take this measure to protect its staff.