The World Health Organisation has been calling the spread of misinformation on the coronavirus outbreak on social media platforms an “infodemic” that was spreading faster than the virus. To curb the same, the organisation is now using the popularity of TikTok to tell people the measures that can be taken to protect themselves from the novel coronavirus.
WHO has opened TikTok account as part of its initiative to take accurate information concerning coronavirus to people online. “We are joining [TikTok] to provide you with reliable and timely public health advice,” WHO said in its first video.
Benedetta Allegranzi, technical lead of infection prevention and control, talks about the measures people can take to protect themselves from the novel coronavirus in the video, which also directs the viewers to the organisation’s website for additional information.
The WHO has been asking tech companies to take tougher action to battle fake news on the coronavirus. It has been taking various measures to stop the spread of misinformation. It reportedly held discussions with Amazon and other tech companies on measures to fight the spread of misinformation about the coronavirus on their platforms.
Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and TikTok reportedly agreed to redirect users that search for coronavirus on their platforms to the relevant WHO page or local health organisations.
Additionally, Google’s search engines will only show news and safety tips. WHO information currently tops the Google results for any search on coronavirus. Facebook has said it will use its existing network of third-party fact-checkers to debunk false claims.
While TikTok has been condemned for spreading misinformation on the virus, it is also the most popular platform today. The WHO has reportedly chosen the platform because of its wider reach.
Though TikTok’s credibility has often been questioned, it has the highest number of downloads. In India, TikTok had earlier come under the scanner for allegedly promoting the sharing of pornography and obscenity. The app was also banned temporarily by the Madras High Court on the same grounds and the news gained media attention globally. However, it is leading the charts now.
The social video app recently touched 1.5 Bn downloads worldwide on the App Store and Google Play with India leading the chart with 466.8 Mn installs, which is about 31% of all installs.