Facebook to help governments share accurate information on Wuhan virus

Facebook Messenger to set up Q&A platform for international authorities to disseminate advice about current pandemic

Messenger Vice President Stan Chudnovsky (left). 

Messenger Vice President Stan Chudnovsky (left).  (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Facebook announced Monday (March 23) that it is launching a new program that will enable governments around the world to share accurate information on the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic via Messenger.

According to Yahoo News, Facebook said its messaging platform, which is used by more than 1.3 billion worldwide, can be used by global health professionals to facilitate better communication during the outbreak. The company added that the service will be offered free of charge.

In a blog post, Messenger vice-president Stan Chudnovsky pointed out that the social networking company has been trying to clamp down on fake news and misinformation regarding the virus. He said Messenger could help governments automatically answer common questions from the public, buying them more time to tend to more urgent tasks.

Chudnovsky said many organizations, including the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Pakistani Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination (NHSRC), have already been using Messenger to provide pandemic-related updates. He said Argentina's Ministry of Health has also introduced a 24-hour online service to provide professional advice to its citizens through Messenger, reported Knowing News.

In addition, Chudnovsky said Facebook is planning to hold a virtual hackathon with Devpost, encouraging developers to generate ideas for more efficient communication between the governments and their people. The winners will receive mentorship from Facebook engineers as well as invitations to Facebook's F8 2021 Developer Conference, he said.