Twitter India has added more tools to aid the battle against the deadly second wave outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in India. The social media platform has become a hot seat for the exchange of information pertinent to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, which has included many users requesting others to amplify requests for oxygen supplies, medicine resources, plasma donors and updating hospital bed availabilities. The platform has also come up as a key resource for breaking news updates, and to contribute to this, has introduced a number of tools to offer information and resources in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Breaking news, info tabs and misinformation
The all-purpose Covid-19 hub, which Twitter introduced last year, has been further organised to offer some of the most asked questions about the pandemic, including the effectivity of vaccines, key precautions to take, evolving changes due to the virus strain’s double mutation and more. The Covid-19 information tab can be accessed by tapping on the Explore button, and shifting to the second tab after the main trends page.
The tab is also one of the ways that Twitter India promotes as an answer to the run of misinformation on the internet today. The page labels information from government bodies, health authorities and other verified figures as authentic sources, which users can rely on in order to access verified updates about the various aspects of the Covid-19 pandemic in India.
Amplifying pleas for help
Twitter India has also created a Covid-19 SOS hub, which is directed to pull together a wide array of pleas for help regarding oxygen supplies, plasma donations, availability of hospital beds, urgent medicine requirements and other associated aspects. The hub works as an automatically arranged place for users to access key resources that are being shared on the social platform, which can be retrieved later for circulation or use.
Lists for media reports, state resources, health officials and more
Twitter India has also put together numerous entries under its Covid-19 lists, which aim to offer a pool of information from accounts that are curated by Twitter India’s internal curators. These lists are specific to different genres such as public health officials, fact checkers, doctors, frontline and on-ground journalists, research work on Covid-19, vaccination efforts and more. The lists, like the SOS hub, pools together a list of resources that may be experts in specific fields, offering users updates on key resources.
These updates may range from state specific health body updates, statistics and sheets to tally availability of hospital beds, oxygen at hospitals and more. The lists and the hubs promoted by Twitter are aimed to reduce misinformation regarding Covid-19, which has seen bad actors use sensitive keywords to promote misleading tips, cyber security threats and blatant price-mongering of key supplies.
With regards to sustained presence of misinformative tweets on the platform, a Twitter India spokesperson states, “In order for content related to COVID-19 to be labeled or removed under this policy, it must advance a claim of fact expressed in definitive terms, be demonstrably false or misleading based on widely available and authoritative sources, and be likely to impact public safety or cause serious harm. As of March 1, 2021, following the update to our Covid-19 misleading information policy regarding misleading information about vaccines, we apply a label warning on Tweets that advance unsubstantiated rumours and disputed claims, as well as incomplete or out-of-context information about vaccines. Tweets which advance harmful false or misleading narratives about Covid-19 vaccinations will continue to be removed.”
Twitter India also states that it further aims to promote “more transparent real-time e-governance delivery” by making the voices of central authorities stronger on the platform. The move is also looked upon as a way for users to get in touch with authority bodies more easily, instead of basing information on unverified sources that are propagated on social media. The platform also guarantees that it will more openly report and disclose requests of information removal by the government, and in particular, communicate such notices and their respective actions with accounts and individuals that are directly affected by such moves.