Facebook, Google, Microsoft and other tech giants join forces to fight coronavirus

Official NHS guidance is being placed at top of search results

Life is being lived online more than ever during lockdowns
Life is being lived online more than ever during lockdowns

Facebook and Google are among the technology firms that have joined forces in an attempt to protect and inform people during the coronavirus outbreak.

The group of companies, which own and run some of the world's biggest online platforms, say they have committed to work together and with governments in response to the pandemic.

In a joint statement, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Reddit and YouTube said they would help ensure people could stay connected to each other during isolation as well as fight any misinformation and fraud linked to the outbreak.

“We are working closely together on Covid-19 response efforts,” the statement said.

“We're helping millions of people stay connected while also jointly combating fraud and misinformation about the virus, elevating authoritative content on our platforms, and sharing critical updates in co-ordination with government healthcare agencies around the world.

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

Social media and search engines have already been displaying official guidance from the NHS and World Health Organisation at the top of search results.

Other platforms have also pledged to work quickly to remove any misinformation flagged to or spotted by them which is linked to the virus.

On Monday, Facebook revealed that hundreds of local support groups had been created in the UK in response to Covid-19.

However, the company has also warned of longer response times and even mistakes in its monitoring of content during the pandemic.

The social network said that, because of reduced staff numbers due to self-isolation and some roles being more difficult to fulfil while working from home, there could be some ”limitations“ to its work.

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