On Monday evening, some of the largest technology firms in Silicon Valley issued a joint statement indicating they are working together on a response effort to the coronavirus pandemic.
Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Reddit, Twitter, YouTube put their names to this statement:
“We are working closely together on COVID-19 response efforts. We’re helping millions of people stay connected while also jointly combating fraud and misinformation about the virus, elevating authoritative content on our platforms, and sharing critical updates in coordination with government healthcare agencies around the world. We invite other companies to join us as we work to keep our communities healthy and safe.”
Many of these companies have struggled with issues related to misinformation spreading on their respective platforms, and have tried to take a more active role in combatting the coronavirus crisis that has afflicted the world in recent weeks. As Adweek reported at the beginning of the month, the platforms were aiming its content moderation tools, both human and robot, to help blunt the spread of misinformation.
It’s unclear how these companies are going to work together, but the move comes at a time when they are experiencing great strain to keep misinformation off their platforms and promote reliable information from credible news, intergovernmental, and nonprofit organizations.
Notably absent from this joint-statement are fellow platforms including Snapchat, TikTok, Tumblr, Pinterest. As one of tech’s biggest players, Amazon’s exclusion is notable as well. Adweek has reached out to each of these companies to ask if they were invited to participate and if they are planning to join in the effort.
The statement comes on the heels of a busy couple of days for the platforms, but especially Google. At a press conference on Friday, President Trump announced a Google initiative to help people figure out if they need a coronavirus test, and then where to find them. This caught the tech giant off guard, as reports indicate that the company wasn’t planning this functionality.
Google took to Twitter later that evening to say, “We are developing a tool to help triage individuals for Covid-19 testing. Verily is in the early stages of development, and planning to roll testing out in the Bay Area, with the hope of expanding more broadly over time.” Verily is a sister company to Google, both under the Alphabet umbrella.
On Monday, Verily rolled out in two California counties, amid several hiccups, according to the New York Times.