As the world continues to face unprecedented lockdowns caused by the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, Twitter is working with global health authorities to identify and verify accounts of public health experts that are providing credible updates about the coronavirus. Twitter wants the experts to shape the public conversation online at this critical time when fake news and misinformation are spreading like wildfires.
It will be the first time Twitter is publicly verifying users since it paused the process in November 2017. The accounts that will be considered for the blue ticks must have email addresses that are associated with authoritative governments or health organizations and institutions. The users must ensure that their Twitter bios and links they provide can be referred back from the institution they are associated with as it helps to quickly authenticate them.
Twitter wants to fight unverified claims that incite people to action and cause widespread panic, social unrest or large-scale disorders, impersonation of government or health officials or organization and false or misleading information around COVID-19 diagnostic criteria or procedures among much other misinformation.
Fighting fake news has been a major challenge to the health authorities that are trying to contain the virus spread. Social media platforms have been misused by many users spreading falsehoods, conspiracy theories, and exaggerations about the coronavirus. Some had blamed the COVID-19 outbreak on the 5G network rollout while others are spreading false claims that the virus doesn’t infect children. Tech companies have since made concerted efforts to combat the spread of fake news. Facebook, for example, has committed to help keep people safe and informed globally and locally through partnerships and updates on its platform. Its messenger app, WhatsApp, has partnered with the World Health Organization to deliver factual information about coronavirus directly into the hands of the people.
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