Tech companies committed to supporting #ChecktheFAQs, a campaign launched today by the Department of Health (DoH) emphasizing the importance of accurate coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) information. 

Facebook, Google, TikTok, and Twitter will raise awareness for the initiative, which includes a page on the DoH website that provides reliable information on the virus and its vaccines. 

Filipinos spend an average of 4 hours and 15 minutes daily on social media, according to the Digital 2021 report by Hootsuite and We Are Social. Online networks have become major sources of news for the country’s 89 million social media users, which makes fighting online misinformation crucial.

“We will continue working closely with global and national health authorities, including the Philippine Department of Health, to make it easy for people to find authoritative COVID-19 and vaccine information across Facebook’s apps,” said Clare Amador, head of public policy of Facebook Philippines, in a press statement.  

“We are also taking action against accounts that break our COVID-19 and vaccine rules—including reducing their distribution or removing them from our platform,” Ms. Amador added.

Google, for its part, has been taking down harmful and misleading content across its products, raising authoritative information on Search and YouTube, providing ad grants, and supporting quality news vaccine reporting. More than 700,000 videos worldwide related to dangerous or false COVID-19 information have been removed.

“Our information panels on YouTube have been viewed 400 billion times, making them a valuable source of credible information,” said Google Philippines country director Bernadette Nacario in a press statement. 

TikTok and Twitter have similar initiatives in their respective platforms. TikTok, according to Kristoffer Rada, TikTok Philippines’s head for public policy, collaborates with fact-checking partners and removes misinformation that violates community guidelines. “We take the responsibility of helping counter inauthentic, misleading or false information,” he said. 

Twitter, meanwhile, implemented new policies to apply labels to the tweets that may contain misleading information surrounding COVID-19, in addition to its continued efforts to remove the same, according to Monrawee Ampolpittayanant, Twitter Southeast Asia’s head of public policy, government, and philanthropy.

“We believe that giving access to factual information is integral in building public confidence on vaccines, as well as keeping the integrity of public conversations around health,” she said. — P. B. Mirasol