As the web experiences an unprecedented disinformation crisis linked to the coronavirus epidemic, Facebook, Google and Twitter are taking action to tackle the spread of false information about the virus that killed 213 people in China and contaminated 9,800 people as of Friday morning.
Facebook health official Kang-Xing Jin wrote in a blog post posted late Thursday evening that the social network would remove false information or conspiracy theories that have been reported by major global organizations. health and local health authorities as potentially harmful to those who believe in it.
“This includes statements related to bogus treatments or bogus prevention methods – such as drinking bleach cures the coronavirus – or confusing statements about health resources,” he added.
He also specifies that this policy also applies to Instagram. Certain hashtags will be banned or restricted, for example, and the company intends to closely monitor the content relating to the coronavirus.
Twitter and Google (with its subsidiary YouTube) for their part post information from the World Health Organization (WHO) when searches for coronavirus on their platforms.
The International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), a partnership of more than 70 fact-checking media, listed on Wednesday morning 80 false information related to the coronavirus on the web.
Death Toll Rises
Meanwhile, the number of deaths from proven cases of coronavirus in China continues to increase, like that of the affected countries.
The Health Commission in central China’s Hubei Province announced Sunday that 45 people have died in the past 24 hours.
These new deaths in this province, whose capital Wuhan is the cradle of the new coronavirus, bring to 304 the total number of deaths recorded in the whole of China.
The number of confirmed infections across China has also risen to more than 14,300 on Sunday, according to the National Health Commission.
Nearly 150 infections are reported in more than 20 other countries, from Asia and the Pacific to Europe and North America.
Since Saturday midnight (4 p.m. ET), all Chinese people must obtain a visa to tour Russia, while those traveling in groups have been exempt since 2000, and no longer will be granted a work visa, announced the Russian government.
The United States will also ban from Sunday at 5 p.m. entry to its territory to foreigners who have visited China in the last 14 days. And a quarantine of up to 14 days will be imposed on Americans who have been in the past two weeks in Hubei.
As for Australia, it has not accepted since Saturday on its soil non-residents arriving from China, after similar arrangements had been made in particular by Italy, Singapore, Israel or Mongolia.