As Covid-19 still dominates online conversations, social media continues to provide a platform for the infodemic of misinformation. In order to elevate factual content, Nordic health company Terveystalo is calling on social media giants to launch a special 'verified' badge to elevate individuals with factual, unbiased and up-to-date information amidst the ongoing pandemic.
According to a research from Reuters Institute, politicians, celebrities and other influencers are responsible for 20% of Covid-19 related misinformation spreading around social media. This might seem insignificant but due to social media algorithms content from them gets more visibility and engagement. Today, Nordic health company Terveystalo joined the fight against misinformation with an open letter to social media
giants Facebook, Twitter, Google and Snapchat.
The open letter calls for the launch of an icon to recognise and verify scientists, doctors and public health officials who are researching the virus and battling the common enemy with accurate information. The new icon would work in the same vein as verified badges given to celebrities and influencers, providing public health experts with a similarly elevated platform.
“As more and more people turn to social media as their primary source of information, we believe that it is important to ensure that the information found can be trusted. By encouraging platforms to adopt the essential Influencers icon we want to do our part in helping the general public find the reliable sources among the clutter and unwarranted expression. Even though we are a Nordic company, we believe in acting on a global scale,” says Petri Bono, the chief medical officer at Terveystalo.
The icon’s main purpose is to help the general public elevate trusted sources such as doctors, scientists and public health officials from the flood of misinformation. Rather than give set criteria for a trusted and essential influencer Terveystalo wants to start a conversation on the subject with the social media channels and suggests seeking advice from for example the top universities and their faculties of medicine.
“As social media platforms have become increasingly popular it is crucial that these platforms take a more active stand in the fight against misinformation. Covid-19 will not be the last pandemic we will experience, thus striving for a trustworthy system around the public health officials will serve as a long-lasting service to all,” continues Bono.
The Essential Influencers initiative is executed in co-operation with creative agency TBWA\ Helsinki that is no stranger to tapping into societal matters with its clients. In 2018 it helped a local newspaper teach presidents Trump and Putin a lesson in press freedom with the Land of Free Press campaign. Just recently it also aided a client design and set up infection preventing hands-free handles at local retail chain’s freezer cabinets.