Social media platforms are battling the spread of misinformation.
Sawan Dutta, 49, Social media influencer and musician, Mumbai
On March 2, a fan asked Sawan Dutta, popularly known as Bengali Aunty, to create a music video based on the US-based Center for Disease Control’s guidelines on washing hands. The Coronavirus Safety Song has garnered about 15,000 views since it was uploaded on March 8. I don’t like turning down crazy songwriting challenges. A lot of people have been writing to me about it since and it has become a discussion forum for their experiences as well, says Dutta.
From myths to messages of hope, social media has been dominated by coronavirus hashtags, posts, memes and advisories in the past few days. It has also been a rich source of misinformation on the virus from secret labs, to miracle remedies to government plots. So much so that it prompted WHO to issue a statement saying it was dealing not just with a pandemic but also an infodemic.
Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and TikTok have all stepped up efforts to curtail the spread of rumors facebook mentioned it was removing misinformation related to the virus, especially on fake COVID-19 cures; Twitter puts out a link to a WHO advisory every time someone searches for coronavirus; YouTube has a link for the WHO guidelines on the virus under each video; TikTok is also working with the WHO to combat false information. But even as people post about gels which can keep surfaces virus free and herbal concoctions which improve lung health, there are plenty ready with actual help.
INSPIRED BY A PANDEMIC
His song Namaste encourages people to practise social distancing with rhymes like Travelling ko rok do/ Iss virus ko thok do.
The music producer highlights the absurdity of Union minister Ramdas Athawale’s act of warding off the virus with a chant of Karuna go, go Karuna with an electronic remix.
The devotional singer debuted his O kitthon aaya corona, Maiya ji’, at a jagrata in Delhi. In the song, he asks people to not panic, have faith in god and use sanitisers.