Twitter to direct users to Government information on coronavirus
Twitter has added a prompt to search results about coronavirus to direct users to official Government information.
The social media platform said the tool was part of efforts to ensure correct information reached those searching from it and prevent misinformation spreading.
When searching for the term “coronavirus” on the site, users are presented with a link to the Department of Health and Social Care website and its official Twitter account, where official updates are issued.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Public safety is our top priority and as this is a rapidly evolving situation, it’s absolutely crucial everyone is able to access reliable, accurate information on coronavirus.
“I welcome that Twitter is taking action to direct users to official Government health advice, helping to tackle misinformation and ensure the public is well informed.
“This action is hugely important, and I want to see more social media companies follow their lead.
“I want to stress there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK and we have world-leading clinicians and expert teams working to protect UK patients and staff to the highest standards possible.”
Twitter said the tool had been introduced in response to increasing online discussion about the virus outbreak.
“Given the rapidly evolving nature of the issue and the growing international response, we’ve launched a new dedicated search prompt to ensure that when you come to the service for information about the #coronavirus, you’re met with credible, authoritative information first,” the company said in a blog post on the feature.
The number of cases of coronavirus has jumped to 7,711, with 170 deaths.
India confirmed its first case on Thursday, as did the Philippines.
In the UK, 161 people have tested negative for the virus as of Thursday.
An evacuation flight to bring British nationals back to the UK from the Chinese city at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak will leave on Thursday night, the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said.