Joining hands with several health services, Facebook will be releasing an information center to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. Facebook has also extended monetary help for small businesses affected due to the virus spread.
According to a press release from the company, the “COVID-19 Information Center” is launching at the top of its News Feed for users in the US and Europe initially, with a more extensive rollout to follow in the next few days.
“The broad consensus is that the biggest role we can help play is encouraging people to take the social distancing orders seriously,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said.
The center will roll out in Italy, France, Germany, Spain, the UK and the US within the next 24 hours. Facebook plans to release it globally to its 2.5 billion users. It will include real-time updates from national health authorities and global agencies such as the World Health Organization. Articles, videos and posts about social distancing and how to prevent spreading the virus will also be featured.
“The goal here is to put authoritative information from organizations like the GDC and WHO in front of everyone who uses our services,” Zuckerberg said.
The company also announced that it will make Workplace, its enterprise communications software, available for free to governments and emergency service organizations for the next 12 months.
“We want to make sure we’re doing what we can to help support the public health response,” Zuckerberg said. “Some of the work that these folks are doing is absolute heroic, and I’m personally very grateful for what they’re doing.”
The social media giant is also updating WhatsApp with the addition of an information hub. The hub is meant to be used by healthcare workers, educators, and local businesses in how to stay connected during this time of social distancing.
Facebook recently announced a variety of new initiatives the company is taking in light of the coronavirus outbreak. On Tuesday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the company would give each of its 45,000 full-time workers a $1,000 USD bonus. The social network has also pledged to match up to $20 million USD in donations to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Foundation and various detection and prevention efforts.