Facebook, Google, TikTok, Twitter express support for DOH’s campaign vs COVID-19 misinformation

Published April 7, 2021, 10:12 PM

by Analou de Vera

Technology companies Facebook, Google, TikTok, and Twitter expressed their support to the campaign against misinformation on coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and vaccines, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Wednesday, April 7. 

The DOH on Wednesday launched “Check the FAQs”  campaign that emphasizes the “importance of accurate information in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and encourage the public to fact-check information that they come across.”

“Playing an important role in championing media literacy on vaccines, Facebook, Google, TikTok, and Twitter have committed to support the campaign which includes helping build awareness for the initiative,” the DOH said in a statement. 

“As COVID-19 vaccination becomes top priority across the globe, we must also race to fight disinformation and misinformation surrounding COVID-19 vaccines and the pandemic. Spreading the right information can save lives,” said Beverly Lorraine Ho, director of the DOH’s Disease Prevention and Control Bureau and the Health Promotion Bureau. 

The DOH said that a “Check the FAQs” page on its website was put up in order  for “Filipinos to have a source of trustworthy information about COVID-19 and its vaccines.”

“Whenever you see or hear new information, we encourage everyone to #ChecktheFAQs. With the campaign and by promoting this single message on social media platforms, we hope to urge every Filipino to always verify any information regarding the vaccines they may come across,”  said Ho. 

Facebook  will “make it easy for people to find authoritative COVID-19 and vaccine information” among its users, said Facebook Philippines’ Public Policy Head Clare Amador. 

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve connected over 2 billion people to resources from health authorities through our COVID-19 information center and pop-ups on Facebook and Instagram. We are also taking action against accounts that break our COVID-19 and vaccine rules—including reducing their distribution or removing them from our platform. While misinformation is complex and always evolving, we continue using research, teams, and technologies to tackle it in the most comprehensive and effective way possible,” she said. 

Google, meanwhile, committed to protect its platforms from “misinformation and connecting more people to information they can trust,” said Google Philippines Director Bernadette Nacario.

“That includes taking down harmful and misleading content across our products, raising authoritative information on Search and YouTube, providing ad grants, and supporting quality news reporting on vaccines,” said Nacario.

“Globally, more than 700,000 videos related to dangerous or false COVID-19 information have been removed and our information panels on YouTube have been viewed 400 billion times, making them a valuable source of credible information,” she added. 

Misinformation and disinformation that continue to spread about immunization can cost lives, said  Kristoffer Rada, TikTok Philippines Head for Public Policy.

“At TikTok, we are committed to minimizing the spread of potentially misleading COVID-19 vaccine content. We take the responsibility of helping counter inauthentic, misleading or false information. To combat these, we’ve collaborated with fact-checking partners to determine whether the content shared on the platform is false,” said Rada. 

Twitter, meanwhile, has committed to protect the public’s conversation with regards to COVID-19, said Twitter Southeast Asia Head of Public Policy, Government and Philanthropy Monrawee Ampolpittayanant.

“We also recently implemented new policies to apply labels to the Tweets that may contain misleading information surrounding COVID-19, in addition to our continued efforts to remove it,” said Ampolpittayanant.