Today, following the launch of a Facebook program that’s matching builders with organizations to construct options that inform folks about COVID-19, Facebook revealed the steps it’s taking to assist Messenger customers keep related. Via a brand new hub — the Messenger Coronavirus Community Hub — the community is offering ideas and assets to assist customers keep in contact with associates, household, colleagues, and neighborhood whereas stopping the unfold of misinformation.
“Messenger helps you feel together with the people you care about, even when you can’t be together,” wrote Stan Chudnovsky in a weblog put up. “Around the world, we’ve seen significant increases in people using Messenger for group calls to stay in touch with their loved ones. Globally, 70% more people are participating in group video calls and time spent on group video calls has doubled. Whether it’s a one-on-one conversation with a friend or a video call with your extended family, Messenger can help keep you connected to your support system and help get us through these challenging times.”
Facebook says the hub will suggest actions like scheduling a digital play date, connecting with children’ lecturers or different dad and mom for college updates, and organizing group video chats or textual content teams. Additionally, it can spotlight methods to establish false or deceptive details about COVID-19, and it’ll counsel how one can keep away from on-line scams associated to COVID-19 therapies or fundraising.
Separately, to restrict the unfold of misinformation about COVID-19, Facebook is exploring choices like testing stricter limits for what number of chats Messenger customers can ahead a message to at one time. The firm has additionally banned ads for hand sanitizer, medical masks, and COVID-19 check kits in current weeks.
“As this global public health crisis evolves, our mission to connect people around the world could not be more important,” stated Chudnovsky. “We hope the hub can serve as a resource for people to help maintain their communities and social connections even when they can’t be together in-person.”
The Messenger hub enhances the coronavirus data middle Facebook rolled out earlier this month, which collates sources just like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) and sits on the high of the information feed. It consists of curated posts from politicians, journalists, and celebrities supposed to unfold helpful well being data.
Elsewhere, Facebook launched a WhatsApp data hub in partnership with the WHO, UNICEF, and UNDP to supply actionable steering, recommendation, and assets to tell customers about COVID-19. WhatsApp stated that it’s working with the WHO and UNICEF to supply messaging hotlines for folks to make use of straight.
Beyond its academic efforts, Facebook lately stated it might roll out a $100 million grant program to help 30,000 eligible small companies in over 30 nations. It additionally teamed up with the WHO, Facebook, Microsoft, TikTok, and different well being specialists and tech firms to launch #BuildforCOVID19, a world hackathon that goals to seek out software program options for challenges associated to the novel coronavirus, and it donated $1 million to help the International Fact-Checking Network, a unit of the Poynter Institute devoted to bringing collectively fact-checkers worldwide.