Coronavirus: Tech rivals Facebook, Google and Microsoft release unprecedented joint statement on ‘fake news’

Rob Waugh
Contributor

Google, Facebook and Microsoft have joined forces to release an unprecedented statement on coronavirus – in the battle against online misinformation.

The statement promises that the tech giants are working together, “jointly combating fraud and misinformation about the virus”.

The statement was released online, and was signed by Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Reddit, Twitter and YouTube, TechCrunch reported.

Tech giants including Facebook and Google have released an unprecedented statement (Getty)

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The joint statement said: “We are working closely together on COVID-19 response efforts. We’re helping millions of people stay connected while also elevating authoritative content on our platforms, and sharing critical updates in coordination with government healthcare agencies around the world.

“We invite other companies to join us as we work to keep our communities healthy and safe.”

Read more: Restaurant offers free meals for frontline NHS staff

Facebook said this week that it plans to award $100 million in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 small businesses in over 30 countries, in a move aimed to address the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak. The majority will be in cash grants.

The social network will disclose more details soon about how businesses will be able to apply for assistance.

Read more: British volunteers to be infected with coronavirus

Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said: “We’ve listened to small businesses to understand how we can best help them.

“We’ve heard loud and clear that financial support could enable them to keep the lights on and pay people who can’t come to work.”

Facebook said companies will be able use cash to pay rent, cover operational costs or run advertising on Facebook.

Read more: Youngest patient dies of coronavirus aged just 45

Instagram this week cracked down on augmented reality filters that peddle false claims to diagnose or cure coronavirus.

The company said that it had removed AR effects related to the virus and would reject requests for filters that claimed to “predict, diagnose, treat, or cure coronavirus.”

Some filters previously offered quizzes on whether users have the virus.

The Verge reported that the social network has now banned searches for COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.

Instagram directs people to reputable information about the virus when they search related terms.

It also blocks and restricts hashtags that spread misinformation.