Supreme Court seeks online portal on COVID-19

RSTV Bureau
File Photo Supreme Court

File Photo Supreme Cour

Not just the spread of the novel Coronavirus, but the rumours about it going viral are causing a great deal of anxiety and mental stress among people.

Ever since the news of novel Coronavirus broke, fear about the virus has gripped the world. But the surge in Coronavirus cases has also triggered a glut of misinformation across the globe. And the eagerness to stay informed is leading to lot of fake information.

While several media channels and medical experts have exposed many of these claims and myths about the virus, demand has been growing for tech companies taking stronger action to stop the spread and scale of online misinformation.

Taking note of the issue, the Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to set up a portal within 24 hours to disseminate real-time information on the Coronavirus pandemic.

Observing that the panic would destroy more lives than the virus, the apex court asked the Centre to get trained counsellors and community leaders of all faiths to calm down migrant workers, who are being kept in shelter homes across the country.

The bench comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde will hear the case next on April 7.

On March 20, the Govt issued a directive asking social media companies to voluntarily curb fake news and misinformation related to the Coronavirus on their platform.

Some of the biggest internet and social media companies have since then made an effort to curb the fake news.

Forbes recently reported that Facebook has unveiled a raft of measures to help keep users safe from misinformation and other exploitative practices.

Both Facebook and Twitter use algorithms to spot false or sensationalist claims to ensure that users searching for information on the virus are shown reliable and authoritative sources like the World Health Organization or national health agencies, rather than conspiracy sites or news outlets.

Instagram is also using algorithms to track hashtags that are frequently used in posts containing false or misleading information.

(With inputs from news agency)