Facebook and Instagram reveal the latest features added to address coronavirus

Facebook and Instagram are taking additional measures to ensure the platforms prioritise health advice surrounding COVID-19.

After revealing an initial wave of measures at the end of last week, Facebook is working to remove false claims and conspiracy theories that have been flagged by leading global health organisations, including the belief that drinking bleach could cure coronavirus.

Ads and commerce listings on Facebook Marketplace and Instagram for medical face masks hand sanitiser, disinfectant wipes and COVID-19 testing wipes have been banned, as well as any ads claiming to cure the disease.

Over on Instagram, COVID-19 accounts have been removed from account recommendations and the platform is working to remove COVID-19 related content from the Explore page, unless it was posted by a credible health organisation.

Adding to Instagram prioritising the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF’s accounts when people search for coronavirus, a pop-up will appear below the search bar directing them to WHO’s online resources.

A pop up will direct users to WHO’s online resources

The social media platforms have also introduced extra features to help support users and members of the community for this period of isolation.

New stickers are rolling out including Stay Home and an upcoming series of health tip stickers.

The sticker is available on Facebook and Instagram

Instagram has also launched a co-watching feature, enabling people to view the making of their friends’ new posts via video chat.

The co-watching feature is new to the platform

Meanwhile government health organisations and UN health agencies are now able to use Facebook’s Workplace for free for the next year, and the platform is currently working on helping them use Messenger to create scaled and educational responses to the virus.

Developers from around the world are invited to help build messaging solutions that address COVID-19 issues and keep people educated.

The latest data from Facebook shows that use of messaging has increased by 50% and voice and video calling on Messenger and WhatsApp has doubled in the countries hit the hardest by the virus.

In Australia, more than 100,000 people have joined over 200 COVID-19 local support groups on Facebook. The hashtags #socialdistancing, #supportsmallbusiness, #supportlocal, and #stayhome have been among the top 10 on Instagram in the last week.


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