Social media companies must prioritise factual Covid-19 information

13 March 2020

Labour Party Health spokesperson, Alan Kelly TD, has called for social media companies to step up their game in tackling misinformation on Covid-19.

Deputy Kelly said:

“With Covid-19 now being defined as a global pandemic and Governments around the world taking serious measures to tackle the spread of this virus, I think it is vital that social media companies do more to highlight unbiased information about Covid-19.

“As people are encouraged to work from home and maintain social distancing, people will be spending more time on their phones, scrolling through apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok. These types of companies should prioritise factual, medically sound, unbiased information on our newsfeeds.

“We are living in an age where misinformation can spread extremely quickly. It shouldn’t be too much for social media companies to have public health warnings from the HSE at the top of people’s newsfeeds and also for posts from verified news and health sites to be prioritised.

“While social media has the potential to add to a lot of misinformation on this virus, we can see from campaigns on Twitter and Facebook that it is bringing out the best of us as a nation, with many people offering to help the elderly or those who are in self-isolation with making sure they have the basics.

“Social media companies must now step up to ensure people are getting the right information.”

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