Monday, 23 March 2020 12:43

 

The social network also invited software savants to take part in an online ‘hackathon’ aimed at creating ways to use Messenger to ease social-distancing and deliver accurate information about the pandemic, according to Chudnovsky. — AFP.

Facebook is stepping up its efforts to push out accurate information about the novel coronavirus,on its messaging service as concerns about misinformation continue to grow.

Facebook Messenger said it's launching a new program to help government health organizations and UN health agencies team up with developers so they can use the social network's messaging service to share accurate information and respond to people's questions. Developers will help these groups for free in the wake of the pandemic. 

Hoaxes and conspiracy theories about the coronavirus continue to spread on social networks, including Facebook and Twitter.

UNICEF and Pakistan's Ministry of National Health already use Messenger to keep people posted about Covid-19, according to the Facebook-owned messaging platform.

Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp recently launched a free World Health Organisation alert designed to answer questions about the coronavirus and debunk “coronavirus myths”.

The service, launching in English, is to expand in coming weeks to include Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish.

WhatsApp last week launched a Coronavirus Information Hub in partnership with WHO and United Nations organisations.

Facebook Messenger also teamed up with hackathon provider Devpost to create an online hackathon, encouraging developers to build tools on the messaging platform that tackle issues such as social distancing and education that have popped up because of COVID-19.

We think the most important step WhatsApp can take is to help connect people directly with public health officials providing crucial updates about coronavirus,” spokesman Carl Woog told AFP.

Concerns have been raised about WhatsApp and other messaging services being used to spread bogus information about coronavirus.

WhatsApp software prevents users from blasting messages to massive numbers of people at once, which tends to be a spam tactic.

The service also labels forwarded or chain messages to show people they did not come directly from a friend or family member. — AFP