The NHS attempts to reduce Covid-19 misinformation

March 29, 2020

Various organisations are taking measures to curb the spread of misinformation on social media

NHS aiming to reduce the spread of Covid-19 misinformation

With the ever increasing proliferation of fake news surrounding Covid-19, leading organisations are aiming to educate the public on how to both spot and prevent misinformation.

Through a collaboration with Google, the UK National Health Service (NHS) will show verified information when a user searches for coronavirus symptoms and related terms.  It is also working with Twitter to suspend false accounts and direct users to the NHS website when they search for symptoms.

“ Getting the right health information to the public is essential, particularly during outbreaks of disease…The more we can share accurate information, the less likelihood there is of inaccuracy and rumour, which could put people at risk. ” Professor Jonathan Benger, Chief Medical Officer at NHS Digital

Facebook released a post outlining a series of steps that it is taking to reduce the impact of fake news on its platform.  These measures include community feedback, third party fact-checking and demoting posts to minimise impact.

Facebook has offered the WHO unlimited free advertising in an attempt to help promote reliable Covid-19 information.  Via pop up adverts, Facebook users will be directed to the WHO website.

“ We’re focused on making sure everyone can access credible and accurate information…This is critical in any emergency, but it’s especially important when there are precautions you can take to reduce the risk of infection. ” Mark Zuckerberg, Co-Founder and CEO, Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook has also published 10 tips to help the public spot fake news:

  • Be skeptical of headlines
  • Look closely at the link
  • Investigate the source
  • Watch for unusual formatting
  • Consider the photos
  • Inspect the dates
  • Check the evidence
  • Look at other reports
  • Is the story a joke?
  • Some stories are intentionally false

You can read items from the FaceBook Covid-19 blog here: https://about.fb.com/news/2020/04/coronavirus/