As the Coronavirus outbreak only gets worse, the best we can do is keep ourselves safe and to stay home. As more and more districts and states go under lockdown, tech companies around the world are doing their best to try and stop the proliferation of fake news among the unsuspecting public, preventing massive chaos and uproar. Google, Apple, Nvidia, Microsoft and Twitter have provided users with tools to determine authentic information about the virus and its effects. In fact, the Indian government has already asked companies like Facebook and Tiktok to stop the spread of fake news and has launched chatbots on WhatsApp to create awareness about the virus. After all that, Facebook is now opening up its Messenger app to government and medical agencies.
Facebook released an announcement on their blog and said that free developer tools were going to be provided to WHO health organizations and government agencies to allow them to use the Messenger app to effectively share timely and accurate information about the virus. The tools would also help agencies speed up their responses to concerned citizens. The post reads, “Our developer partners have offered to provide their services free of charge to these organizations during this crisis.“
The release also went on to say, “Today, Argentina’s Ministry of Health is launching a Messenger experience, with support from Botmaker.com, to answer questions from the public about the coronavirus, and to provide fast, reliable and official advice 24 hours a day.”
Facebook has also launched a virtual hackathon to see if developers can find more compact and easier messaging solutions to promote social distancing and deliver correct and verified information. The company said, “Developers will help with things like automating responses to commonly asked questions, which can take some of the burden off of overwhelmed staff. They’ll also show these organizations how to share updates with their audience most effectively and how to seamlessly transition from automated conversations to chatting with a live person when necessary.”
As the virus makes its way through the entire world, it’s important to stay safe and stay home at this moment.