Social media platforms Photograph:( Reuters )
Social influencers, or people with social media clout, have been enlisted by the Finnish government to help reach a bigger audience during the pandemic
As the world comes up with creative ways to counter the COVID-19 pandemic, countries like Finland are pooling in existing social capital to contain it.
Social influencers, or people with social media clout, have been enlisted by the Finnish government to help reach a bigger audience during the pandemic.
“We can reach a large part of the public in Finland through official communications and traditional media, but it’s clear the authorities’ messaging doesn’t always reach all population groups,” the government communications director, Päivi Anttikoski, told The Guardian.
With this, the country hopes to reach more people and further fight misinformation. So far, Finland is the only country in the world which has designated social media influencers as “critical operators”. Other critical operators include doctors, bus drivers, and supermarket workers.
Finland’s 34-year-old Prime Minister Sanna Marin, in collaboration with a social media consultancy, alongside a network of media companies, intends to reach social media moguls and further accentuate the penetration of reliable information.
As per Politico, government announcements are edited to fit the social media format. After this, they’re sent to 1,500 influencers.
“It’s about supporting social media influencers in sharing reliable information related to the coronavirus, and helping ensure that the right information is available on all channels at the right time,” the company, PING Helsinki said. “By working together, we can prevent the spread of false information”, they added.
However, this is not a coronavirus-related project, for these tools were envisioned in 2018. The aim is to develop tools that can improve the credibility of social media influencers, and to further use their platforms to share reliable information.
Additionally, the company has come up with a do’s and don'ts that need to be followed during the pandemic.
The basic tenets of these include - stop and think before sharing; review content critically; distinguish fact from opinion; check facts and never share false information.