How Apple, Google & More Are Cracking Down on Coronavirus Scare

With coronavirus making a global impact, misinformation spread through apps and the internet is causing concern.

Updated06 Mar 2020, 02:55 PM IST
Tech News
2 min read

Coronavirus is making worldwide impact, and the outbreak has even made its way to countries like India, where people affected has reached double digits.

But we’re concerned about a lot of misinformation being spread by third party actors, which leads to unnecessary panic being created, forcing people to take instant action, which is not advisable.

Which is why technology giants like Apple, Google and YouTube among others are not only restricting travel of its employees, but also making sure that its platforms aren’t used for such devious purposes.

Apple

Apple is removing all coronavirus-related mobile software not from recognized health organizations or the government, reports CNBC. "Some developers asked not to be named to avoid further complications with Apple's review process," the report mentioned.

On the Apple App Store, the top result for "COVID 19" is a "virus tracker" app from a developer called Healthlynked with WHO figures and maps charting where cases have been confirmed.

Google

Google, on the other hand, has stopped throwing results if someone search about coronavirus on its Play Store.

Some of these apps used public data from reliable sources like the World Health Organization (WHO) to create dashboards or live maps. Google Play has published a website called "Coronavirus: Stay informed" with suggested apps, including software from the CDC, Red Cross, and Twitter.

Some popular Android apps related to the coronavirus are not available for iPhones, said the report.

Facebook & Twitter — Taking Guard on Social Media

Social media giants like Facebook and Twitter have started taking proactive measures to fight the spread of harmful content, apart from taking action against those who spread misinformation.

Facebook said it is focusing on limiting the spread of misinformation and harmful content about the virus, while also connecting people to helpful information. It is also closely coordinating with leading health organisations to make it easier for people to connect with accurate information about the situation due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Twitter said it has invested significantly in its proactive abilities to ensure trends, search, and other common areas of the service are protected from malicious behaviour.

The micro-blogging is also halting any auto-suggest results that are likely to direct individuals to non-credible content on the platform.

YouTube

YouTube has reportedly started demonetising videos about the deadly virus and creators are not too happy about it. The popular video sharing platform has demonetised videos about sensitive subjects in the past as well.

The company's advertising guidelines state that sensitive topics -- usually a recent event with a "loss of life, typically as a result of a pre-planned malicious attack" -- are normally not suitable for advertising.

These videos are allowed to stay on the platform; they just can't make money from YouTube's built-in ad service, the report added. According to the video-sharing platform, coronavirus outbreak is now being considered a sensitive topic.

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Published: 06 Mar 2020, 02:45 PM IST
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