HELSINKI — As COVID-19 continues to dominate online conversations, Nordic health company Terveystalo called on social media giants Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Snapchat to launch a special “verified” badge to elevate individuals with factual, unbiased and up-to-date information amidst the ongoing pandemic.

According to research from Reuters, politicians, celebrities and other influencers are responsible for 20 percent of COVID-19 related misinformation spreading around social media1.

“As more and more people turn to social media as their primary source of information, we believe that it is important to ensure that the information found can be trusted,” said Petri Bono, the Chief Medical Officer at Terveystalo.

The Essential Influencers initiative is executed in co-operation with creative agency TBWA\ Helsinki. In 2018, TBWA\Helsinki helped a local newspaper teach presidents Trump and Putin a lesson in press freedom with the Land of Free Press campaign.

On May 26, Terveystalo joined the fight against misinformation with an open letter to the social media giants.

The open letter calls for the launch of an icon to recognize and verify scientists, doctors, and public health officials who are researching the virus and battling the common enemy with accurate information. The new icon would work in the same vein as verified badges given to celebrities and influencers, providing public health experts with a similarly elevated platform.

It reads: “You’ve given the world a voice and made following our heroes and idols easier than ever. Yet now that we’re facing an unseen crisis, we want to follow an entirely different group of people.”

Read the full open letter here

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