As a new coronavirus spreads around the world, some are also stepping up their online fight to keep misinformation about the disease away.
Internet companies are attending a meeting with the World Health Organization this week to discuss promoting reliable information and facts – the review of the new coronavirus known as COVID 19. Rumors and misinformation about the coronavirus are spreading rapidly on the Internet, and technology companies in China and the US are trying to find ways to address the problem. Google, Facebook, and other platforms are struggling to keep up with fraudsters, trolls, and others with bad intentions, who routinely use major tragedies and disasters as an opportunity to deceive and manipulate people.
The US government, which is currently using location and movement data from American smartphones to combat the coronavirus, is gripping people because of potential privacy and cybersecurity problems. Sources familiar with the situation say efforts to harness location data are being supported by 60 technology companies working with government agencies in China, the United States and other countries around the world. Technology advocates believe that these efforts could help change these companies’ “privacy narrative.
Shenzhen – Shenzhen-based Tencent Holdings, the parent company of instant messaging app WeChat, which has more than 1 billion users, has launched an outpatient clinic map designed to help chat users find the nearest clinic.
Meanwhile, Tencent’s parent company, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., has donated $40 million that will go toward China’s efforts to develop a vaccine. While China is currently battling the coronavirus, Beijing analysts say technology may not be the dominant factor in stopping outbreaks. Technology has become a key factor in China’s fight against other infectious diseases such as malaria and dengue fever. China was the second-largest producer of the disease last year, after claiming two years earlier, and is now the third-largest producer behind the US and the UK.
Didi, China’s largest ride service provider, has teamed up with medical aid organizations to provide free access to Didi’s servers to workers who need to perform tasks related to it.
Many companies are trying to take action to address the coronavirus crisis that has gripped the world in recent weeks, but they are struggling with misinformation spreading on their respective platforms. Earlier this month, platforms began working on a new partnership to curb the spread of misinformation. By jointly combating fraud and misinformation about the virus, they can help millions of people stay connected by increasing relevant content on the platform and sharing important updates.
The move comes at a time when companies are trying to keep misinformation off their platforms and promote more relevant content about the coronavirus and its impact on people’s lives, but it is unclear how they will work together. They are demanding companies and have had the ability to develop creative solutions and protect their data in a way that smaller companies cannot.
Interest in the analysis and use of data collected by companies such as Facebook and Google is growing. In a statement to The Washington Post, Google spokesman Johnny Luu said the company was exploring ways in which aggregating anonymized location information could help fight COVID-19.
One unexpected result of the current pandemic is that large technology companies, which have been on the defensive over data-collection practices for the past three years, are now promoting them. Over the past four days, Google and Facebook have unveiled new products aimed at improving understanding of the spread of disease and helping public health organizations and nonprofit organizations organize in response. Facebook data scientists introduced disease prevention maps to help nonprofit organizations and universities working in public health prevent outbreaks.
Technology giants are stepping up to play a role in the coronavirus pandemic, tapping their vast resources to help experts control the virus’s spread and plug gaps in the government’s response. The result is that companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and other technology giants can find new ways to help in a crisis, not only in terms of data collection, but also in other areas of public health.
In recent weeks, major technology companies have donated masks and other medical equipment, introduced testing and triage tools, made public their efforts to monitor misinformation on their platforms, and provided hospitals with medical equipment such as respirators, gloves, and masks. They have also provided academic researchers with massive datasets to help health officials share accurate information. And, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), they help predict the spread of the virus and its impact on hospitals.