The World Health Organization joined TikTok to eliminate misinformation

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The FINANCIAL — The World Health Organization joined popular video platform TikTok on Friday to share reliable information regarding the coronavirus outbreak and to cut through coronavirus misinformation online. WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are fighting misinformation regarding the virus on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Tencent, and TikTok.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is working with tech companies to fight misinformation about Coronavirus, also known as, COVID-19. While YouTube has already demonetized all videos related to COVID-19 and put a WHO warning underneath every video related to the virus outbreak, TikTok seems to be the next platform where the international organization is battling misinformation about the virus, International Business Times reported.

“Particularly with this COVID-19 outbreak there has a massive ‘infodemic’ – an over-abundance of information – some accurate and some not – that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it,” Tarik Jasarevic, a WHO spokesperson, told Insider. In the first of two videos posted to the WHO TikTok page, Benedetta Allegranzi, the technical lead of infection prevention and control, explained different ways to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Her recommendations echoed previous advice issued by other health organizations, like the US Centers for Disease Control. Allegranzi recommended people frequently clean hands using an alcohol-based product or soap and water, use an elbow or tissue to cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing, avoid individuals with symptoms of the virus, and share travel information with medical professionals if a person is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, Business Insider wrote.

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The second clip, which has been watched over 30 million times, features a demonstration on how to wear a mask, though the organization stresses that healthy people shouldn’t wear them as a precautionary measure. ‘If you don’t have respiratory symptoms, such as fever, cough, or runny nose, you don’t need to wear a medical mask,’ WHO notes. People have been praising the organization for joining TikTok, with one fan writing: ‘This channel is more useful with 2 videos [than] the [entire] mainstream media in the past two months.’ It has been reported that medical masks are in short supply since the outbreak first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late December and has since spread to dozens of other countries. Despite U.S. officials’ warnings that the masks are not necessary to wear in the U.S. or on planes, celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Bella Hadid, and Kate Hudson have taken selfies wearing masks out of ‘paranoia,’ according to Daily Mail.

WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have spent the last couple of weeks of the outbreak fighting misinformation regarding the virus on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Tencent, and TikTok. Information from WHO already tops Google results for search queries about the novel coronavirus. Facebook users scrolling through their news feeds are also met with messages directing them to visit government websites for information on the virus. Twitter users see a message that says “Know the facts” and directs them to visit the CDC’s website for “the best information on the novel coronavirus” when they search for content related to the virus. TikTok also links users who search for virus-related content to the WHO website, as reported by The Verge.

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WHO isn’t the first major global organization to start using TikTok to help set the record straight about the ongoing outbreak. Both Unicef and the Red Cross have begun pushing out videos to tackle rumors, myths, and memes, because after all this is the internet we’re talking about. A place where some people are dumb enough to fake videos of themselves becoming infected or claim they’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by this novel coronavirus, to get those sweet views, Gizmodo wrote.

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