A Look at Social Media During Quarantine 

Jeanine Guzman  | 

In this time of social isolation, staying connected is more important than ever. Consumers rely on social media for health and safety updates, entertainment and a means of maintaining well-being by virtually interacting with family and friends. In fact, WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram enjoyed a 40 percent mid-March usage spike as direct a result of the coronavirus. And Sprinklr reported over 19 million Covid-19 mentions across social media, blogs and online news sources on March 11. Yet despite such surges, public trust in social media is simultaneously declining. Almost 75 percent of Americans don’t believe the pandemic information they read on social sites, according to a recent Axios poll. Here’s how platforms are combatting the spread of misinformation and adapting to the new world order to hold consumer trust.

Promoting Accurate Content
Twitter was among the first platforms to provide early coronavirus data to both business leaders and consumers at the start of 2020. In January, the platform announced it would direct users searching for “credible, authoritative information” to official resources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) sites. Facebook is also working with WHO officials by providing unlimited free ads and blocking messages from companies making inaccurate claims. The site has additionally increased its fact-checking capabilities to nix the spread of false reporting. TikTok is doing its part by letting the WHO live-stream on their site so experts can release prevention tips while answering users’ questions in real time. And last month, a several major social players—Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit, Twitter and YouTube—joined forces with Google and Microsoft to issue a statement announcing their decision to fight coronavirus misinformation together. Moreover, Google pledged 6.5 million in funding to fact-checking organizations and nonprofit groups so they may amplify the delivery of truthful Covid-19 messaging around the globe.

Listening and Adapting
The world is changing daily, and social sites are doing their part to respond to users’ shifting needs. In the past few weeks, Pinterest experienced a jump in searches for ideas including “kid-friendly recipes” (up 64 percent), “home organization” (up 43 percent) and “spa day at home” (up 19 percent). In response, the platform introduced a new “Today” tab as a home base for trending posts and relevant editorial recommendations. They’ve also grown their mental wellness features so users can better search for activities related to stress-relief or emotional well-being, and are featuring expert CDC and WHO commentary. On Instagram, Russell Stover launched “The Great Bunny Hunt” this week, an Easter-centric campaign where consumers compete to find chocolate rabbits hidden in posts for a chance to win a year’s supply of sweets. A partnership with Giphy also lets users send virtual hugs to the friends and family from whom they’re separated this holiday. And LinkedIn, which recently saw a 55 percent engagement increase, published a report providing marketers data-based insight on how brands can keep evolving, along with working-from-home best practices and tips. Brands and social platforms that channel accuracy and goodwill in this difficult time will continue gaining consumers’ confidence.

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