Social media doors get wide opened, as many schools and workplaces across the nation have been shut down to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.
Coronavirus is all over social media, from morning to night, the first and the last post or message is of COVID-19.
Social media could prove useful at a time when many of us are isolated from one another.
One thing that can help us navigate this crisis is conversations about coronavirus, especially those at the community level. The discussions reflect how society thinks and reacts to the crisis. They allow society to talk its way through what is a bizarre threat.
Public health experts and Scientists are using social media to discuss emerging research and engage directly with the public, while community leaders are using it to form volunteer networks to help vulnerable groups.
Facebook’s COVID-19 Information Center
Facebook rolls out a new COVID-19 Information Center panel, which will be featured at the top of all user News Feeds for the foreseeable future.
It seeks to play its part to keep people informed about the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new panel will feature the latest official news and updates on the outbreak, as well as links to helpful articles, videos and posts about social distancing and preventing the spread of COVID-19.
People can also follow the Coronavirus Information Center to receive updates from health authorities directly in their News Feed.
In fact, Facebook announces new initiatives every day:
- Increased access to local alerts to help keep local communities updates on important information
- Launched a new business resource hub to help those impacted by the pandemic
- Provided free ad credits for organizations which share the critical information
- Implemented bans on ads which seek to capitalize on COVID-19 fears
- Provided new COVID-19 data tracking tools so anyone can keep tabs on the evolving conversation
But these new information panels may prove to be the most significant addition yet.
1.66 billion individuals access Facebook every day and all these users will get news content from the platform. It's a great time for Facebook to showcase its value in a news delivery sense.
Additionally, Facebook also makes its Workplace Advanced platform available to government agencies and emergency services free of cost for one year.
These institutes play a vital role during the coronavirus outbreak. They are the first responders who coordinate with public information.
Amid this chaos and disruption of the outbreak, Facebook takes this great initiative to showcase its value.
The new COVID-19 Information Center panel will initially be rolled out to users in Italy, France, Germany, Spain, the UK and the US and then it will expand to more countries in the coming days.
WhatsApp’s COVID-19 Info Hub
The Facebook-owned giant, WhatsApp has also launched a new COVID-19 Info Hub as a response to concerns of spreading misinformation around the outbreak of Coronavirus to provide users access to information related to the extraordinary crisis.
The major concern was helping health workers, educators, businesses and other groups who use WhatsApp to support one another during this pandemic.
Already several health ministers are providing updates to citizens on WhatsApp but this will help to expand these services to a greater extent.
You can access the new info hub here. It includes tips on working remotely, how to get reliable information and how to put an end to the spread of misinformation.
Facebook says that it has almost doubled server capacity for WhatsApp to facilitate ongoing communication within the app and the usage of WhatsApp has seen a drastic increase in the last week.
Not only this, but WhatsApp is also expected to be a key source of connectivity in many regions as the crisis rolls on across the globe. But the biggest focus is on the halt of the spread of misinformation through the app.
The situation turned so bad in some regions, that Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has tweeted for people to stop using unverified chats on WhatsApp for COVID-19 information.
With 2 billion users, the potential scope and reach of WhatsApp are significant. People may not be able to post to a public News Feed within the messaging app, but it does create a reach to large sections of the community which gets affected by such fake reports.
COVID-19 takes hold in more regions where WhatsApp is the preferred way to communicate, in fact, the only mode of communication in some places.
The key to managing the outbreak is to make sure that people are informed as to what they should do and how they should act to limit the risk of infection.
Hopefully, these new acts by Facebook and WhatsApp bring the new change for the brands as well as for the citizens.