After announcing its initial measures to protect the public conversation around the COVID-19 outbreak late last month, Twitter has this week provided an update on the various steps it's taking to assist and inform.
As per Twitter:
"We recently revised our travel policy to ensure we’re playing our part in the global containment efforts relating to coronavirus (COVID-19). In tandem, our entire company is stepping up its internal and external efforts to build partnerships, protect the public conversation, help people find authoritative health information, raise relief funds, and contribute pro bono advertising support to ensure people are getting the right message, from the right source."
In its initial update, Twitter announced that it had added a new search prompt, in several languages, in order to guide users who do search for coronavirus information in its app to official resources and accurate information on the outbreak.
Twitter has now expanded these search prompts to nearly 50 countries around the world, with nations in the Middle East and North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa going live by the end of this week.
Much like Facebook, Twitter has also tasked its moderation terms with seeking out and removing misinformation around the outbreak.
"Our global Trust & Safety team is continuing its zero-tolerance approach to platform manipulation and any other attempts to abuse our service at this critical juncture. At present, we’re not seeing significant coordinated platform manipulation efforts around these issues. However, we will remain vigilant and have invested substantially in our proactive abilities to ensure trends, search, and other common areas of the service are protected from malicious behaviors."
Also similar to Facebook, Twitter has implemented bans on "any attempt by advertisers to opportunistically use the COVID-19 outbreak to target inappropriate ads". Twitter is also offering ad credits to nonprofit organizations to help them maximize awareness campaigns around the virus.
"For example, as part of the International Fact-Checking Network, we have supported the Spanish organization @maldita_es and @malditobulo, which focuses on mitigating the impact of disinformation on public discourse through fact-checking and data journalism techniques. In Asia, we have partnered with the Taiwan Fact Checking Center, which has been using Twitter to connect with IFCN fact checkers around the world via #CoronavirusFacts. They are working in real-time to find credible information and debunk rumors in Chinese."
Twitter is also providing data to relevant authorities to assist in their processes, and working in an advisory capacity, as required, to help in the global containment effort.
Given the popularity of social platforms, they now provide an essential medium to reach the public, and ensure the dissemination of valuable, accurate information - which is particularly relevant in cases like this. The ways in which both Twitter and Facebook can be utilized for such underline the key role that social platforms now play in our interactive process, and why Governments and aid organizations should be working with them to maximize awareness and activity.
You can read more about Twitter's COVID-19 response here.