• Ankuran Dutta

#CheckTheFake -2: Infodemic vs. Pandemic


Guwahati, April 2: The rise of #Infodemic on #COVID19 over the social media platforms at the time of relentless threat to our health by this pandemic takes the whole world by surprise.

Keeping in view with the concerns expressed by WHO on Feb 15, 2020 about the rising infodemics, the Government of India recently issued directives to the social media companies in the country to stop the #misinformation spread on #COVID19.

Now, it’s the responsibility of these social media companies to deal with this infodemics in a more sophisticated manner. Facebook has asked its task force to rate #COVID19 related content as true or false, and in case any article or post is rated false, it will ‘limit its spread’ and notify that a particular content is fact-checked.

While Instagram decided to provide information in eight local Indian languages from local authorities to fight misinformation, the company has also banned ads of face masks or any businesses looking to cash in on the coronavirus keyword, and assigned ad credits to ministry departments, to help them promote accurate information and advisories on the #COVID19 pandemic.

TikTok, the most popular social media platform for teenagers in India claims that it will “remove deliberate attempts to deceive the public.” However, the company’s efforts seem largely reliant on user reports, than a wilful, pre-emptive effort from the company to comb the platform and its hashtags, and take down potentially problematic content.

Similarly, WhatsApp has introduced three official automated chatbot-based helplines so far — the Indian government’s MyGov Corona Helpdesk, the global WHO Coronavirus Helpline, and UK.GOV, the British government’s coronavirus healthcare line to get rid of the misinformation and rely on the accurate information from official authorities.

YouTube has also clear policies that prohibit videos promoting medically unsubstantiated methods to prevent the coronavirus in place of seeking medical treatment, and if any videos violate these policies are quickly removed only when its users flag the problematic content.

All searches about coronavirus on the social media platforms starting from Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, WhatsApp and YouTube will link users to official content on the WHO’s platform.

#CheckTheFake on #COVID19

FAKE: That the lockdown would continue for more than three months triggering the mass exodus of migrant workers from cities to their homes in villages.

FACT: No plans to extend the 21-day coronavirus lockdown, said Union Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba in a review meeting held with the Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla on Monday.

#CheckTheFake is a movement against #Infodemic in this crisis, initiated by Dr Anamika Ray Memorial Trust #ARMT (www.armt.in) in collaboration with The Assam Tribune and Northeast Now (www.nenow.in) to create awareness on #fakenews on #Coronavirus and improve media literacy through #Cartoons.

The Assam Tribune: http://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/at.asp?id=apr0220/Page5

NE Now: https://nenow.in/health/checkthefake-filtering-fakenews-on-social-media-a-huge-challenge-amid-global-public-health-emergency.html


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