Several social media platforms are rolling out innovative features to help people as India faces a massive surge in COVID-19 cases across the country.
India is witnessing a tough battle against the second wave of COVID-19 due to the shortage of hospital beds, ICUs, ventilators, oxygen and essential medicines. Several people across the country have resorted to social media to seek help and support for COVID-19 patients.
Social media giants like Facebook, Twitter and Indian startups including Koo and Chingari have rolled out new features to help people by providing information on possible COVID-19 resources.
The Indian video sharing app Chingari has launched an alternative to Clubhouse called Fireside, which will allow users to communicate in an audio format with each other. The app will have 24x7 COVID-19 helpline rooms where users can drop in at any time with their requests or questions.
"The pandemic has imbued uncertainty and isolation, leaving people craving for human interaction. Fireside enables users to listen to the voice of their loved ones by bridging emotional gaps, leaving them emotionally touched and connected. With a keen focus on building rich communities, fireside aims to cater to the Indian market with clubs and groups that are tailored to suit local needs and sensibilities,” said Sumit Ghosh, CEO and co-founder, Fireside and Chingari, Business Standard reported.
Another Indian start-up, Koo, has unveiled its talk to type feature for various regional languages like Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi and Bengali. The app is a microblogging platform like Twitter where users can look for help. The talk to type feature will allow thousands of its users to look for aid without worrying about translating their messages.
Truecaller, the part social platform and part phone directory app, has also launched a feature to aid in this crisis. Users of the app can access a directory of all COVID-19 hospitals in India through the app itself.
Social media giant Facebook is not only rolling out a vaccination centre finder for its Indian users but it also has an information hub regarding coronavirus, both on its websites and app. Users can also use the large platform to put out requests for help or SOS calls using tags related to the pandemic like #COVIDEmergency, #COVIDSOS #COVID19emergency. There are many groups and public pages which are also providing help to people on Facebook.
Twitter has a dedicated COVID-19 hub under the explore panel. The hub provides users with the latest information, PSA and live events information including the COVID SOS page. Twitter has also said that it has curated lists of health authorities, public health experts, health journalists, fact-checkers and other authoritative sources to get accurate information. The website has a list of verified organisations that are engaged in relief work. It has now a feature that shows the latest information around COVID-19 vaccines on the homepage as well.
LinkedIn, the professional social networking website, has also put out a COVID-19 resource hub that is built to help people who have lost their jobs to find new opportunities. It also provides new information jobs and volunteering opportunities.