As anxiety increases, more people are turning to social media for answers – but how do you make sense of what’s true or false? How do you sift through your timeline of tweets to find accurate information? Which accounts should you trust and ignore?
Simple – cut through the noise and go straight to the source. For example, not sure whether washing your hands with soap is as effective as using anti-bacterial gel? Go to the World Health Organisation @WHO, they’ll tell you exactly how to wash. Not sure what exactly ‘essential travel’ means? Follow @BorisJohnson and watch his speech. Feeling anxious about self-isolating? Check out @NHSuk for #EveryMindMatters tips and you can look after your mental health.
Twitter stops the spread of fake news
As the spread of fake news increases, Twitter is fighting misinformation by working with public health authorities and governments by enforcing stricter rules on its platform.
@TwitterSafety is a dedicated account that tweets “the latest safety tools, resources and updates.” It says:
Twitter’s official blog says it will remove tweets that include:
“Description of harmful treatments or protection measures which are known to be ineffective, do not apply to COVID-19, or are being shared out of context to mislead people, even if made in jest, such as “drinking bleach and ingesting colloidal silver will cure COVID-19.”
“Description of treatments or protective measures which are not immediately harmful but are known to be ineffective, are not applicable to the COVID-19 context, or are being shared with the intent to mislead others, even if made in jest, such as “coronavirus is not heat-resistant – walking outside is enough to disinfect you.”
As far as having users remove offending tweets, according to the company’s existing guidance “When we determine that a Tweet violated the Twitter Rules, we require the violator to remove it before they can Tweet again.” Auser is notified of this via email and given a chance to delete the tweet or make an appeal. While that is happening, the tweet is hidden from view.
A blue tick = a verified account BUT does not = verified information.
Trump tries to trump #Covid19. An example of why a blue tick doesn’t necessarily mean it’s accurate, see below:
Medical experts and the U.S Food and Drug Administration refuted the claim made by the President moments after. One of the many examples:
In a statement posted BEFORE Trump tweeted, the FDA said: “there are no FDA-approved therapeutics or drugs to treat, cure or prevent COVID-19.”
Which then led to this:
As you can see, Twitter can be a dangerous place for misinformation through verified accounts, so always stick to information from the source.
And now for some accounts that I’ve found useful:
Here’s some interesting content I found whilst following the #COVID19 hashtag. You can delve into tweets (and threads) from:
- Doctors/medical experts i.e. @DrTedros the Director-General of the World Health Organisation (who better to follow at a time like this)?!
- #Covid19 survivors – Twitter threads that document their daily symptoms
- Celebrities such as Tom Hanks who was recently self-isolating, sharing his experience to encourage others to be responsible and stay home.
- Thought leaders i.e. social media/marketeers on how brands are keeping their followers informed and how others in the industry are adapting to a new way of working.
- Supermarkets, to name but a few, such as Aldi have been brilliant in keeping their shoppers updated with opening hours, social distancing and how they’re helping vulnerable customers.
View the gallery below:
Useful accounts straight from the source…
- World Health Organisation @WHO
- Public Health England @PHE_uk
- Department of Health and Social Care @DHSCgov
- NHS @NHSuk
And if you feel bogged down by all of the #Covid19 information, there’s plenty of lighter tweets to keep you entertained during this difficult time.