During the daily coronavirus press briefing at the white House, United States President Donald Trump said that he received a call from the CEO of Google Sundar Pichai in order to apologize. It wasn't clearly stated if what the mogul apologized for, however, it was apparent that it had to do something about praises that Trump expressed towards the company's communications team who substantiated the President's current comment about the coronavirus screening site of Google.
Circulation of fake news
As the coronavirus continues to spread worldwide, fake news about the pandemic spreads just as fast, at times even faster. This brings the difficult part of combating COVID-19 since due to the rising number of misinformation, people do not know what to believe anymore. With people not being able to distinguish the truth from news that aim to mislead, it is up to platforms such as Google to take action in preventing widespread of disinformation.
In his statement, Trump said that he wanted to thank people at Google for substantiating his statement last Friday. He also advised the company that whilst they issued an apology, it would be better id the news that goes out to the public is accurate and reliable. He also expressed his appreciation to the CEO of Google for taking responsibility, cooperation and efforts to ward off fake news amid a trying time caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Both parties have kept the contents of the call private
Despite being a matter of interest around social media, there are still no updates on the nature of the conversation that has surfaced. The only information that people have is Trump's address and a post from Google CEO Pichai on Google's blog which outline the company's efforts in combating the confusion and rampant spread of fake news regarding the spread of COVID-19 which has already killed more than 6,500 worldwide.
Efforts being put up to combat fake news
According to President Trump himself, as of the moment, about 1,700 Google engineers are working on developing a screening site in order to prevent the spread of false information. Google, however, has not released any statement regarding this but has shown improvement resulting to Verily now functioning in limited parameters. Alongside Facebook and Amazon, Google is working on developing more protective measures to decrease fake news from infiltrating their websites.
Limited version of COVID-19 Screening site launched
On Monday, Alphabet's verily has launched its pilot COVID-19 screening website, just a few days after Trump announced that Google is under developmet of a screening site which will aid in the control of the coronavirus pandemic.
As of the moment, the site still has limited scope and is only available in the Bay Area. In order to log-in to the site, users are required to use their Google log-ins or make one if they do not have it yet. It is also currently limited to persons aging 18 years old and above, English speakers and are residents of the US. One must also be willing to sign a COVID-19 Public Health authorization form before they can proceed.
In Verily's blog post, it was stated that the website tool will triage people who are concerned about coronavirus infection into testing sites depending on the guidelines set by public health officials and the availability of the tests.