Apple, Google crack down on apps to curb misinformation on coronavirus

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New York: With the outbreak of Coronavirus, tech giants like Apple and Google are cracking down on apps related to COVID-19 to curb misinformation.

The Cupertino-based giant is rejecting all un-verified apps related to the COVID-19 disease that is not from hospitals or recognised health institutions or the governments.

Apple will reportedly only approve applications that have been released by health organisations like the World Health Organisations (WHO), hospitals or governments, iOS developers have said.

Some of these apps used public data from reliable sources like the World Health Organisation (WHO) to create dashboards or live maps.

Apple has been specifically evaluating coronavirus apps to prevent the spread of misinformation. It looks at both where the health data comes from and whether the developers represent organizations that users can trust to publish accurate data, like governments or health-focused organizations, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The restriction appears to be working, as search results show few apps about the outbreak and no obvious spam. But it could also reduce the availability of software that would enable iPhone users to track the outbreak and raise fairness questions about who is allowed to develop apps for iPhones.

Google has a set of existing policies against apps that deny the existence of major tragic events, apps that lack reasonable sensitivity towards or apps that exploit a natural disaster, atrocity, conflict, death or other tragic events, or towards apps that appear to profit from a tragic event with no discernible benefit to the victims.

Twitter said it is also halting any auto-suggest results that are likely to direct individuals to non-credible content on the platform. Facebook said it is closely coordinating with leading health organisations to make it easier for people to connect with accurate information about the situation due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg earlier in a statement emphasised saying that he was focussed on making sure everyone could access credible and accurate information. He stated that Facebook would remove content that gives importance to conspiracy theories.

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