TBWA\Helsinki has partnered with one of its clients, healthcare company Terveystalo, on an initiative proposing that social-media companies issue a new type of verified badge to combat misinformation related to the pandemic.
The new icon would recognize and verify scientists, doctors and public-health officials researching the COVID-19 virus and providing accurate information about it.
The idea is to provide an elevated platform for these specialists, similar to the way social media provides verified badges to celebrities and influencers.
The agency and its partner point to research from Reuters Institute that finds politicians, celebrities and other influencers are responsible for 20% of COVID-19 related misinformation spreading around social media.
I can think of one politician in particular whose COVID-19-related advice might be considered off the mark — along with just about every other sentence he utters.
Today, Terveystalo issued an open letter to Facebook, Twitter, Google and Snapchat to launch an icon verifying the specialists mentioned above.
“As social-media platforms have become increasingly popular, it is crucial these platforms take a more active stand in the fight against misinformation,” said Petri Bono, Chief Medical Officer at Terveystalo. “COVID-19 will not be the last pandemic we will experience, thus striving for a trustworthy system around the public-health officials will serve as a long-lasting service to all,” he added.
TBWA\Helsinki created a video about the initiative that can be viewed here.
This isn't the first innovative project the agency has developed in the fight to flatten the COVID-19 curve. In April, it unveiled a device that can be attached to existing handles, enabling people to open doors and cabinets with an arm instead of a hand.