How Twitter Uses Verification to Point Readers to Coronavirus Experts
When social media meets public health
Spending time on social media in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic means seeing a lot of information and recommendations for what’s been going on. Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to tell if you’re seeing advice from an expert in infectious diseases — or just commentary from some dude who’s been stockpiling Purell.
Gizmodo reports that one social media platform has figured out a way to help its users separate good advice from potentially nonsensical (or harmful) advice. Alyse Stanley chronicled Twitter’s efforts to use its verification system — you know, the one with the blue checkmarks — to direct its users to actual experts in the field whose advice is worth heeding.
This week, Twitter Support put out a call for accounts that are “providing credible updates around #COVID19,” the potentially deadly respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus. The tweet also includes instructions on how accounts can best update their information to increase their likelihood of snagging a blue checkmark.
In a Tweet directed at experts in the field, Twitter wrote that “we are prioritizing Verification for Twitter accounts that have an email address associated with an authoritative organization or institution.”
To #COVID19 experts: we are prioritizing Verification for Twitter accounts that have an email address associated with an authoritative organization or institution. Here’s how to update the email address associated with your account:https://t.co/H4LkQYeGB8
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) March 21, 2020
While Twitter’s system of verification has come under criticism in the past, this current program seems like a good way to alleviate some of the issues of earlier years. And if this is able to help more people find relevant, helpful information during a public health emergency, so much the better.
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