Coronavirus Updates

February 29, 2020

The World Health Organization has joined TikTok to fight coronavirus misinformation

WHO chief says it is time for the world to heal

WHO, Coronavirus

The World Health Organization launched a TikTok account on Friday as part of its efforts to cut through coronavirus misinformation online. A specialized public health agency of the United Nations, WHO is one of the leading organizations working to contain the spread of the virus.

In WHO’s first video, Benedetta Allegranzi, technical lead of infection prevention and control, describes measures people can take to protect themselves from the novel coronavirus and directs them to the organization’s website for additional information.

“We are joining [TikTok] to provide you with reliable and timely public health advice,” WHO wrote in the description of its first video.

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TikTok has been flooded with memes about the novel coronavirus over the past few weeks, with some users pretending to be infected. In one case, a teenager made a video suggesting that their friend was the first Canadian confirmed to have caught the virus. TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The launch of the TikTok account is part of WHO’s work to get accurate information concerning the novel coronavirus to people online. According to the MIT Technology Review, WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have spent the last couple of weeks of the outbreak fighting misinformation regarding the virus on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Tencent, and TikTok.

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Information from WHO already tops Google results for search queries about the novel coronavirus. Facebook users scrolling through their news feeds are also met with messages directing them to visit government websites for information on the virus. Twitter users see a message that says “Know the facts” and directs them to visit the CDC’s website for “the best information on the novel coronavirus” when they search for content related to the virus. TikTok also links users who search for virus-related content to the WHO website.

The coronavirus information partnerships are similar to how platforms reacted to criticism over anti-vaxx content on their platforms over the past few years.

WHO has also made strides to post accurate novel coronavirus information to its other social media accounts like Instagram. The organization’s Instagram feed is filled with infographics outlining how people can protect themselves from the virus.

WHO did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Verge.

The Verge

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