Coronavirus fake news prompts NHS action

Working with social media platforms, the NHS has today announced a ‘package of measures’ to combat fake news and improve access to ‘accurate information’. An article we wrote last week mentions some of the myths associated with the Coronavirus outbreak.

Online collaboration

The NHS is now working with Google, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Google is ‘providing easy access’ to properly verified NHS information when the search term ‘Coronavirus’ is used.

The NHS is working to combat bad information as well as online myths and misinformation.

One problem is homeopaths promoting false treatments where there is no evidence of these treatments having any positive effect.

The NHS has been working with Twitter to suspend a false account posing as a hospital in Andover.

According to the BBC, the fake account ‘urged the town to move into lockdown’ due to an ‘influx of patients’.

The NHS is also working with social media to ‘blue tick’ over 800 accounts belonging to NHS organisations.

Google with the NHS to introduce ‘Knowledge Panels’.

These panels with work with Google search on mobile devices to provide easy access to information about more than 250 health conditions, not just Coronavirus.

Both Twitter and Facebook are now directing users to the NHS website when searching for Coronavirus.

Other organisations taking action are the Advertising Standards Authority who recently banned two face mask adverts.

The adverts made ‘misleading’ claims to the extent to which the masks could prevent the spreading of the virus.


Sir Simon Stevens NHS Chief Executive said:

“Ensuring the public has easy access to accurate NHS advice however they search for it, not only will support people to take the right action but will also help the country’s response to coronavirus.”

“The NHS has already been battling coronavirus fake news, from working to take down false Twitter accounts to speaking out against misleading treatments being promoted by homeopaths online.”

“It’s right that social media platforms and search engines take any action so they can help ensure the public are directed to NHS advice first.”

“I would also like to personally thank all those NHS staff who are doing an incredible job caring for patients, testing thousands of worried people and taking calls from thousands more.”