The World Health Organization (WHO) joined video-sharing platform TikTok last week to counter coronavirus misinformation online. WHO is one of the leading organisations that are working to contain the spread of the virus.
Benedetta Allegranzi, technical lead of infection prevention and control, says “We are joining [TikTok] to provide you with reliable and timely public health advice! Our first post: How to protect yourself from #coronavirus?”
Their videos are aimed at both helping to reduce the risks of infection and dispelling rumours that are circulating online.
The power of TikTok hasn’t escaped the attention of medical and healthcare brands around the globe. The World Health Organization’s entry to the platform is further proof of the ways that younger audiences can receive relevant and accurate healthcare advice.
WHO’s first video received 22.9 million views and their second has received 29.8 million views since 28th February (at time of writing).
@whoWe are joining @tiktok to provide you with reliable and timely public health advice! Our first post: How to protect yourself from #coronavirus ?♬ original sound – who
@whoWhen & how should masks be worn in order to protect against the new ##coronavirus ?♬ original sound – who
The second video explains when and how masks should be worn in order to protect against coronavirus.
“If you do not have respiratory symptoms, such as fever, cough, or runny nose, you do not need to wear a medical mask. Masks should only be used by health workers, caretakers and by people with those symptoms.”
In addition to TikTok, a variety of international health organisations see the social media platform as a new and innovative way to discuss health issues with younger audiences. The Red Cross and Unicef already have TikTok accounts.
WHO are keenly aware of the amount of misinformation being spread online about coronavirus. There have already been instances of TikTok users falsely claiming that they have been infected or spreading panic. In response to these incidents, TikTok has said that it’s providing fast access to “trusted resources” for people looking for coronavirus hashtags.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the WHO, said at the Munich Security Conference in February “We’re also working with search and media companies like Facebook, Google, Pinterest, Tencent, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube and others to counter the spread of rumours and misinformation. We call on all governments, companies and news organizations to work with us to sound the appropriate level of alarm, without fanning the flames of hysteria.” He concluded, “This is a time for facts, not fear. This is a time for rationality, not rumours. This is a time for solidarity, not stigma.”
More information from the World Health Organization about Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) can be found on the WHO website.