As we all adjust to spending countless hours cooped up indoors, two things have arisen from our collective boredom: people who were already using TikTok have started making even more quality content, and those of us who once swore to never use the platform have gone back on our promises and made accounts anyway. Naturally, this increase in both users and usage is having a positive effect on the platform's revenue, so it's great that TikTok is paying that forward by donating $10 million to efforts fighting against coronavirus globally.
"We believe it's essential to do everything we can to help the global health community in this fight, and today TikTok is donating $10 million to the World Health Organization's (WHO) Solidarity Response Fund," said company president Alez Zhu in a statement posted to the company's newsroom yesterday. "This fund helps the WHO carry out vitally important work, including sending essential supplies to front line health care workers, ensuring communities have access to the latest science-based information, and accelerating efforts to discover life-saving treatments or vaccines. Alongside many great companies and individuals, we're passionate about doing our small part to contribute to this important cause and the critical work the fund enables."
Elsewhere in the statement, Zhu noted the many ways TikTok had already been working to fight against the spread of this lethal virus, specifying how the platform has hosted a number of livestreams with WHO experts, with users in over 70 countries tuning in for trusted information and live Q&As; partnered with WHO to create an informational page on TikTok that offers tips on staying safe and preventing the spread of the virus; and worked to put specific labels on coronavirus-related videos which point users to trusted information, with resources directly in the app as well as in the dedicated COVID-19 section of its Safety Center.
Similar actions have been taken by other social media platforms. Just this morning, Instagram announced its own efforts to fight against coronavirus. Though the company has not pledged any money towards the cause, it has tweaked certain aspects of its platform in an effortto combat problems both serious (misinformation) and trivial (social isolation) — including adding more educational resources in Instagram Search; adding stickers to promote accurate information; removing COVID-19 content and accounts unless posted by a credible health organization; rolling out the donation sticker in more countries and helping people find relevant nonprofits to support; creating a shared story to help those practicing social distancing connect with others, using a "Stay Home" sticker; and launching a new way to browse Instagram with friends over video chat.
All in all, as concerns surrounding COVID-19 continue to mount, it's as important that people can count on their preferred social media platforms to keep them in the loop with up-to-date, accurate information as it is for frontline workers to be able to count on getting the resources they need to continually put their life on the line to help others. Seeing companies like TikTok and Instagram step up to the plate, in any way they can, is only the beginning in what will surely be a long fight.