Amid the panic and fear for the coronavirus pandemic, the fake news and misinformation regarding it have also seen a spike on social media platforms. The Indian government has been trying all it can to put an end to it all through several methods.
Now, the IT ministry has issued an advisory for social media platforms — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more — to ensure effective and quick action against any online content spreading misinformation about online videos.
“It has been reported in the media that there is a trend of circulation of misinformation/false news and sharing anonymous data related to coronavirus in various social media platforms creating panic among the public,” Rakesh Maheshwari, group coordinator of cyber laws and e-security at MeitY, said.
MeitY has asked social networks to take immediate action to disable and remove any such content on a priority basis. The platforms will also have to promote content authentic content related to coronavirus to avoid any panic. The social media platforms have also been asked to run awareness campaigns to make users vary from posting misinformation.
However, social media platforms have already been collaborating with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to regulate online content.
Last week, the IT and health ministry started a special helpline, MyGov Corona Helpdesk, on WhatsApp to answer people’s queries. Anyone can simply drop a WhatsApp message to 9013151515 and the chatbot will then send an automated response listing the most commonly asked questions.
Besides this, the Indian government also partnered with Google India. Under this, Google has customised India’s search page with the ‘Do The Five. Help stop coronavirus’ campaign. The mains search page also contains a link to the health ministry page, which highlights real-time data on the extent of impact in terms of positive cases, locations and deaths.
The webpage also showcases other important issues on its website. Besides this, Google is also sending out push notifications to both Android and iOS users in India, highlighting important information in this regard.
As per media reports, the government has also been in talks with Facebook to come up with similar solutions. Meanwhile, the government is said to be exploring all possible tech solutions to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.