Social media websites like Facebook are trying to make their own efforts at limiting the kind of misinformation being spread by unscrupulous elements. This is in particular reference to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, where people have been forwarding false messages leading to panic among the public.
Facebook has been working on a feature where if a person tries to forward a message to more than five persons, a message appears informing that the message cannot be forwarded to more than five recipients. This has come to light through a Twitter post by one Jane Manchun Wong, a well-known reverse engineer. Adding a screenshot of the page where Facebook’s message appears, she has commented that Facebook is working on limiting the number of people messages can be forwarded to.
Interestingly, Facebook has responded to this tweet and confirmed that they are working on a feature and have referred to the coronavirus as the reason behind their attempt. The objective is to contain the spread of misinformation. It is still work in progress and there may be stricter norms in terms of forwarding of messages. Facebook is yet to add this feature on its platform and it's an internal factor currently. This move by Facebook is being welcomed by many on Twitter.
Facebook is not alone in working on limiting the damage caused due to misinformation. Google has also set up a dedicated page to reflect the latest figures of affected persons and deaths. This again is aimed at giving the people genuine information and these figures are sourced by Google from agencies like the WHO, CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US, the nodal body) and other government and local bodies.
The pandemic has been spreading like wildfire and Europe has been severely hit. The total deaths attributed to coronavirus is nearing the 19,000 mark.
With the Indian government declaring a 21-day lockdown throughout the country, close to 40% of the world’s population from over 150 countries is presently under lockdown.