Big tech tries to stop coronavirus misinformation, AI rife with mistakes

Big tech giants band together to fight misinformation surrounding coronavirus, but AI creates problems as it tries to solve them.

Big tech giants say they are going to band together to fight misinformation surrounding the coronavirus, among them Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Reddit, Twitter, and YouTube. The US companies released a joint statement on Monday to lay out how they will fight back against fraudulent information about the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Verge.

“We are working closely together on COVID-19 response efforts,” the joint statement reads. “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.”

Twitter stated that it will begin providing non-governmental organizations with advertising credits to boost public health campaigns. They also warned that their rise in moderation efforts may result in some enforcement “mistakes.”

Facebook noted that mistakes were a concern as well. Overnight, many users noted that their posts were taken down for community standard violations. Facebook took to Twitter to release a statement.

Just how exactly the companies intend to tamp the flow of misinformation remains unclear but incorrect posts relating to coronavirus have been running amuck online since the pandemic began. This has forced the tech giants to take a more proactive approach when it comes to taking down false information such as fake coronavirus cures and other hoaxes.

Admittedly, the issue of monitoring this has a wide scope of unprecedented complexity for the Silicon Valley based companies. Big tech has been trying to get a handle on how to deal with misinformation for some time, and there have been countless proposals as to how to handle this.

Representatives from Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, IBM and Cisco all met with the Trump administration on Monday to discuss ways that they could help both combat misinformation and also to help track the spread of the virus. However, not all of those companies present at that meeting took part in the aforementioned joint statement.

Rumours such as NYC shutting down their subway system, fake medical tips from Stanford University, and false claims of infected celebrities have already been widely circulating on social media. Just earlier this morning the White House was forced to debunk a rumour that Trump was going to call for a nationwide lockdown to stop the spread of coronavirus.