As predicted by experts, the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States are on the rise once more. Many factors contributed to the new wave of outbreaks, with the George Floyd protests, lifted lockdowns, and intentional refusal to follow precautionary measures listed at the top. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other health experts are enlisting the help of tech companies such as Apple and Google, while social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are planning to bolster their efforts against the pandemic.
In a blog post, the company detailed: "With the rise in COVID-19 cases in the US, we're putting an alert at the top of Facebook and Instagram to remind everyone to wear face coverings and find more prevention tips from the CDC in our COVID-19 Information Center." Earlier, it also offered a programme wherein users can respond to others within their community who need aid.
Co-founder of Microsoft and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates recently criticised social media companies for their failure to address misinformation about the 2019 novel coronavirus, reports Fox News. Many of these types of posts continue to circulate across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter among others.
"Can the social media companies be more helpful on these issues?" He stated during an interview. "What creativity do we have? Sadly, the digital tools probably have been a net contributor to spreading what I consider crazy ideas," he added. In its defence, a representative from Facebook went into detail as to what the company has already accomplished even in the early days of the pandemic.
Moderators have been working with healthcare organisations to redirect users to curated resources and away from fake news, rumours, and speculation. Furthermore, it is likewise committed to issuing reminders regularly about the latest findings and tips to avoid transmission.
Facebook and Instagram users will now see these alerts populate at the start of their news feed. For now, it is echoing what health authorities have been saying since earlier this year, which is to wear face coverings. Published findings from studies have already proven that these can significantly reduce the risk of infection and hopefully control the outbreak.