The latest news and insight on how the technology sector is reacting to Covid-19
WhatsApp limits message forwarding function to curb misinformation spread
WhatsApp has introduced measures to limit the spread of false information on its platform. Facebook and Twitter have also introduced actions such as removing debunked tweets or Facebook posts, and the UK government has established a Rapid Response Unit for dealing with the issue.
WhatsApp has announced that a message can now only be forwarded to one chat at a time. Last year, WhatsApp began limiting the number of chats a message could be forwarded to at once, setting a limit of five chats at once. According to WhatsApp, the five-chat limit reduced mass-forwarding by 25%.
The company bans two million accounts per month for attempting to send bulk or automated messages and is also working directly with NGOs and governments, including the World Health Organization and national health ministries, to help provide users with accurate information.
Facebook to produce ‘heat maps’ of Covid-19 with user data
Facebook plans to ask users whether they have been infected with the virus, in order to gather data to create heat maps of the outbreak. The survey will initially be focussed in the US, as part of a research project run by Carnegie Mellon University.
Users will see a link to the survey at the top of their news feeds. The hope is that by mapping the highest concentrations of the virus, the results will enable the university to predict where medical resources are most needed.
Facebook will roll out the survey to other countries if successful in the US. It also said that researchers at the university would have no access to identifying information, and that researchers in turn would not share individual survey answers with the company.
Avvoka wins new business
Lawtech firm Avvoka has been selected to develop a document automation system for the Loan Market Association. Avvoka won the business in conjunction with Allen & Overy and has been a long-term member of A&O's FUSE incubation programme.
US investment fund offers grants for innovations on Covid-19
New Media Ventures has set up a rapid-response fund to provide grants and investment for startups that are focussed on progressive causes, including advancing democracy and improving political access for marginalised communities.
The new Crisis Innovation Fund is intended to resource the most promising Covid-19-relevant ideas that come from the investment fund’s 2020 open call, New Media Ventures said.
The investment fund is ten years old, and backs startups and non-profits developing technology that improves access to government.