Global businesses are being adversely impacted because of the Coronavirus outbreak in China and its subsequent spread to dozens of countries around the world. While hospitality and aviation have been hit the hardest, the tech industry hasn’t escaped from its clutches either. Now, however, some of the leading tech companies from around the world, including internet giants Google and Facebook, are fighting back as part of their effort to help people find authentic info on the subject and fight the spread of misinformation.
Google this week launched an ‘SOS Alert’ for searches related to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. The search giant says it has tied up with the World Health Organization (WHO) to roll out the new feature to make resources about the deadly virus more accessible. “When people search for related info on Google, they’ll find the alert atop results page w/ direct access to safety tips, info, resources & Twitter updates from WHO”, said the company.
Today we launched an SOS Alert for searches at Google related to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. We do these regularly for crisis events around the world where public safety might be at risk . Here’s a refresher on what you’ll find…. pic.twitter.com/RpwZE6gTvM
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) January 30, 2020
As part of the feature, any search related to the deadly virus will come with an ‘SOS Alert’ header on the top of the page. According to Google, It will show “any relevant news content in our regular “Top Stories” box, followed by any relevant local updates. Currently we are showing the same alerts globally about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. Over time, these will localize if needed … Our Google SOS Alert for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus also shows Help & Information links, along with Safety Tips”.
Facebook is also doing its bit to educate people about the disease and stop the spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories. According to the company, its third-party fact-checkers are reviewing content related to the coronavirus outbreak to check their authenticity. If a post is rated as false, the company says it will limit its spread and send a notification to people who have shared or are attempting to share that content. The social media giant is also deleting posts that have been flagged as false by global health organizations.
In case you don’t know it already, the coronavirus outbreak has been declared a global public health emergency by the WHO as it continues to spread its tentacles around the world. According to reports, more than 250 people have died from the disease and more than a thousand have been taken seriously ill as it spreads to more than two dozen nations, including India and the US. More than 8,000 confirmed cases of the virus have been reported till now, with the number expected to go up in the coming days.