Social media platforms respond to Coronavirus

08 Apr 2020
By Ben Miller

It’s fair to say that the Coronavirus pandemic has shaken up social media this year, causing a huge shift in the types of content people post and engage with. At a time when we’re all forced to stay apart, we’ve seen a real movement towards users and brands using social as a means of support and community.

Below, we’ve pulled together some of the key updates which social media platforms have made in reaction to the Covid crisis to make sure content remains trustworthy and helpful during such a difficult time. This includes tightening ad restrictions to avoid price-inflation for protective equipment and the spread of misinformation, as well as partnering with organisations such as WHO to help people to access the support they need.

And on a practical note – it’s also worth remembering that with large chunks of their workforce at home, social media companies are having to rely more heavily than ever on automation. This means ad approval may take longer, and there’s likely to be a higher number of ads incorrectly disapproved.

Facebook Coronavirus updates

Facebook launches a free business resource hub

With Coronavirus causing huge changes for businesses across a wide range of industries, advertisers are having to make tough decisions about their paid social spend and online efforts. 

To help, Facebook has launched a ‘Business Resource Hub’ for companies affected by the pandemic, which includes tips for how to continue to help and communicate with customers, as well as guides and toolkits on how to protect your business and minimise downtime. [source]

Facebook announces Community Help

In response to the Coronavirus outbreak, Facebook has made it easier for people to request help in their local area or volunteer to support others. For example, there are opportunities to get involved with delivering or donating food, as well as contributing to fundraisers. [source]

Facebook has increased restrictions on certain types of ads

To protect users against ‘inflated prices and predatory behaviour’, Facebook has put a ban on advertising for face masks, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes and COVID-19 test kits. [source]

WhatsApp tool introduced to avoid the spread of misinformation

This is to avoid the spread of fake news through chain messages that are forwarded on. It works by giving users the option to quickly search the web for more context around a message. [source]

Potentially longer ad approval times

Facebook relies on a combination of manual checking and automation to approve or disapprove ads. As a large chunk of their workforce has now been sent home due to the outbreak, they’re relying more than ever on the automation side – and unfortunately this means it won’t always get things right.

Facebook has told us to expect longer approval times, and a larger number of incorrectly disapproved ads. One to keep in mind if you’re planning to put new paid social activity live on a short turnaround. [source]

Instagram Coronavirus updates

Instagram brought a stop to Coronavirus AR effects

Instagram has banned searches for COVID-19 augmented reality effects, in the hopes of curbing the spread of misinformation – apart from where they’ve been developed by a “recognised health organisation”.

They’ve also taken the move of directing people to reputable information sources when they search for certain Coronavirus-related hashtags. [source]

Instagram launched a ‘Co-Watching’ video chat feature

Presumably Instagram has clocked on to the sudden popularity of Houseparty, and are after a piece of the pie! Thise new feature allows you to view saved, liked, or recommended posts over video chat with friends and family. You can access the feature from the direct inbox or from a chat thread. [source]

Snapchat Coronavirus updates

Snapchat ‘Here For You’ mental health tool

Snapchat launched their ‘Here For You’ mental health tool earlier than originally planned, to help with the mental health issues caused by the emotional stress of living through a time of crisis.

The feature provides in-app support, including links to mental health resources and exercises – it also includes updates from the World Health Organization, the NHS and other key bodies. Here For You appears whenever users search keywords such as anxiety or depression. [source]

TikTok Coronavirus updates

TikTok partners with WHO to create information page

TikTok has partnered with the World Health Organisation to create an info page on TikTok which gives tips on how to avoid catching and spreading COVID-19, and also dispels myths and fake news. WHO is also using TikTok to run live streams and create videos which provide up to date information and advice. [source]

Linkedin Coronavirus updates

Linkedin share tips on what to post during the lockdown

There’s no doubt about it – the Coronavirus lockdown has affected most people’s working lives dramatically. 

At a time when we’re all having to get used to a new way of working, Linkedin suggest that posting and sharing your stories is important – whether you’re posing a problem and asking for suggestions, or giving insight into something which really helped you (e.g. tips for how to have a successful video meeting). The bottom line is: be yourself, offer your perspective, and lean on others for support. [source]

Twitter Coronavirus updates

Twitter shares advice on brand communications during the outbreak

Although the online space has definitely changed as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, there’s still an opportunity for brands to have a voice to help and support others.

It’s important to think about the role your brand plays in people’s lives, how this might have changed due to the virus – and how you can continue to add value and be supportive in the present time. [source]

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