As Facebook seeks to play its part in keeping people informed about the COVID-19 pandemic, Facebook has announced that it’s rolling out a new COVID-19 Information Center panel, which will be featured at the top of all user News Feeds for the foreseeable future.
As you can see herein the image, the new information panel will feature all the latest official news and updates on COVID-19, as well as links to other helpful content, videos, and posts about social distancing and preventing the spread of COVID-19.
“People can also follow the Coronavirus Information Center to receive updates from health authorities directly in their News Feed. And starting in the US, people will see features to help them connect with local groups and ask for or offer help within their community.”
It’s the latest effort by Facebook to provide assistance amid the evolving coronavirus crisis – among other additions, Facebook has:
- Added informational prompts to relevant search queries, guiding users to accurate information sources
- Expanded access to local alerts to help keep local communities updates on important info
- Launched a new business resource hub to help those impacted by the pandemic
- Provided free ad credits for organizations looking to communicate critical info
- Implemented bans on ads seeking to capitalize on COVID-19 fears
- Provided new COVID-19 data tracking tools so anyone can keep tabs on the evolving conversation
- Allocated more than $100 million in funding to small businesses, fact-checkers, and local newsrooms
- Provided staff with bonus payments to help maintain support for local businesses impacted by the changes
Facebook is clearly taking steps up to offer help where it can – Facebook’s various pledges thus far cumulatively add up to more than $150 million in direct funding, and it’s announcing more new initiatives every day.
But the new information panels on COVID-19 may actually prove to be the most significant addition yet because Facebook is used by over 1.66 billion people every day, a number that will likely increase amid the current quarantine. And more importantly, a rising number of those users also get news content from Facebook.
Facebook’s new panel makes it a key vehicle for the communication of up to date, comprehensive, accurate information on the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s also good for Facebook to showcase its value in a news delivery sense – and how its plans for a dedicated news tab have value, despite certain concerns.
In addition to this, Facebook is also making its Workplace Advanced platform available to government agencies and emergency services free of charge for 12 months.
“These organizations play a vital role during the coronavirus outbreak, whether it’s acting as first responders or coordinating public information. A workplace can help inform and connect their employees, allowing them to share critical information in real-time and enabling leadership to reach employees via live videos, posts and more.”
Amid the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic, Facebook is taking the initiative to showcase its value, and how it can contribute to help us, as opposed to the opposite. The various initiatives by Facebook are significant and valuable and will definitely go a long way to helping as we all work to navigate this new normal. And ideally, come out better on the other side.
The new information center panels will initially be rolled out to users in Italy, France, Germany, Spain, the UK, and the US, before expanding to more countries “in the coming days”.