The sudden prohibition on socializing, to control the spread of Coronavirus, has left everyone with just one option – stay at home! It may be manageable for some, but all the social butterflies must already be feeling like stranded on an island, yearning to be with their people.
At this time when the life has toppled over the bush, it is wiser to collect twigs from the bush and make a nest. That’s what some smart companies are doing, realizing that every single effort will make a difference. They are doing their part not to fight the virus directly, but to make things easier for everyone. Let’s take a dive into what are they up to!
At this time when lockdowns, social distancing, and isolation are the only options left to control the epidemic, people are bound to stay home, come what may. It is very likely for anyone to feel lonely and depressed. To make it easier for the users coping up with the lockdown, realizing the need to feel ‘connected’ better despite distanced physically, Instagram announced the addition of a feature ‘Co-Watching’, which is about browsing the app even while on chat with friends and family. Means, you don’t need to end the call to browse the app for any reason. In fact, you can browse along with the one you’re talking too. So, while you chat or talk, you can even manage your account. Yes, this is an effort by Instagram and Facebook to enhance the connectivity between the users and their loved ones being far away due to the lockdown led by this pandemic.
This way, the people will feel more connected than ever, coping up well to stay isolated so that the spread of this virus is caught hold of.
“To help people stay connected, we’ve launched media sharing, a new feature that allows you to view Instagram posts together with your friends over video chat. You can start a video chat by tapping the video chat icon in the Direct inbox or in an existing Direct thread, then view saved, liked and suggested photos/videos by tapping the photo icon in the bottom left corner in an ongoing video chat.”
According to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, that’s the biggest role that Facebook can play by encouraging people to consider social distancing orders seriously and follow the advisory.
Alongside, Instagram also unveiled the plans of working strictly on the content about COVID-19 shared widely. Unless the content is produced by an authorized source, it won’t be shared further. There will also be a sticker feature that would promote only the authenticated information.
“We will continue to prioritize safety, connecting people with accurate information, and encouraging support as the COVID-19 outbreak evolves,” the company cited about the object of this feature.
Not only this, the company banned the commercials selling face masks, hand sanitizers, disinfectant wipes and COVID-19 test kits. “This is another step to help protect against inflated prices and predatory behavior we’re seeing,” tweeted Rob Leathern, Director of Product at Facebook.
The most proactive efforts from any social media channel, made in solidarity with a cause, have always been witnessed from Facebook. The outbreak of coronavirus is also responded to, the same way. No doubt, the pandemic has hit the most vulnerable classes of society.
Considering their plight, a feature Community Help is generated in Facebook which can be assessed by people in the COVID-19 Information Center. The objective of this global-scale feature is to let people offer help to those affected by the pandemic. They can also donate to non-profit organizations.
Watching movies together, chomping on popcorns, and sharing comments on the flick, is what a quarantined movie-buff would miss badly. Well, not now!
Netflix Party, a free extension for the Google Chrome browser has been developed by Netflix to let those lonely souls come together and watch movies together. The browser allows you to play the movie scenes the way you want, and that too, staying in sync with your partners in crime. That saves on the hard work of trying to synchronize with everyone. Not only this, to share thoughts and comments on the scenes, a side chat bar is also provided. The chat bar will also keep notifying about new joinees. So, you can comment, laugh, tease and giggle without missing the core objective movie-watching with your friends and family.
All you need to do this is – ensure that everyone in your group has a Netflix account, and a downloaded Google extension. Of course, you will be required to invite everyone for Netflix access. In case, they don’t own the account, they can avail the 30-day trial as new subscribers.
Ever since the bug hit this planet, the internet is flooded with news of all kinds – real ones, fake ones, and some really creative ones. The mischievous souls have already created enough panic among the masses, misinforming them of corona threat. Not only this, it has developed perceptions about the handling of this virus.
Like for instance, several news that surfaced up recently were –
‘Covid-19 can be cured by ingesting fish-tank cleaning products.’
‘Cristiano Ronaldo and the pope tested positive.’
‘Coronavirus was developed as a result of a failed biology experiment.’
Well, for some, sharing these snippets may be just be a matter of fun, while for some wise souls it may be something to ignore. But for a major chunk it is received on a serious note. Consider it their gullible attitude, or a feeling of anxiety, or a state of hopelessness, they simply start following it all the baloney of time.
Taking this matter to task, WhatsApp is soon to come up with a fact checking feature that will ask you if you wish to upload it on Google, so that the authenticity of the news can be checked.
The most popular app has always updated itself to provide better messaging experience for its users. Apart from adding a feature to allow the users to pick gifs and images from the web, while on WhatsApp chat, WhatsApp is now up to adding to its features, the advanced search option. This is to search of the ‘Frequently Forwarded Messages,’ the suspect fake news on the web, directly from the chat, so that the users don’t feel reluctant enough to do so, as coming out of app just to authenticate the news may seem quite an avoidable task for them.
It’s great, isn’t it!
The feature though is not put on yet, but will soon be there as one of the special features of the app.
“We are working on new features to help empower users to find out more information about the messages they receive that have been forwarded many times. This feature is currently in testing, and we look forward to rolling it out in the near future,” cited a spokesperson from app.
To curb down this mushrooming menace, the World Health Organization has also collaborated with WhatsApp in their mission to provide only authentic information, and started a ‘Health Alert’ service through the app.
The free new service is designed to address to all the query from people about coronavirus, by providing prompt, and substantiated information within 24 hours, worldwide.
Alongside, WhatsApp has also announced to donate $1 million to the International Fact-Checking Network of Poynter Institute, to stop the flow of all misleading information about the pandemic.
Necessity is the mother of invention! And when the global crisis strikes, these inventions become the trends, only to be the starting points of something transformational for the entire world.
Over the past two months, the social media and entertainment platforms have proactively participated in aiding their users to face the crisis easily. They are doing their best to update themselves, building tools to root out all the misleading information, determining the reputed sources, and encouraging the masses to connect with each other in technologically innovative ways, to pull out the loneliness from the ‘stay at home’ time.
The current time may seem difficult, but these experiences are surely going to remind us of the most unlikely that we have faced together, and of course, the technological innovations during this course of time that helped us hopefully come unscathed out of this crisis.