Facebook has announced that it is expanding Covid-19 Announcement tool in India, which enables health departments of States and Union Territories to share essential COVID-19 related updates with their communities. India is the second country after the US to launch this feature and Facebook has partnered with 33 states and Union Territories to roll this out in their respective jurisdictions. The COVID-19 Announcement feature will give health departments the ability to push out timely, credible COVID-19 and vaccine information to people in their local communities/ state jurisdictions, claims Facebook. States will be able to issue these alerts statewide or to specific cities within their state.
When posts by state health department pages on Facebook are marked as COVID-19 Announcements, Facebook will amplify their reach so that people located in the community are more likely to see them. The social media company will send notifications to people located in the affected area, and will also show that information on the COVID-19 Information Center. Facebook believes this will help distribute important and urgent updates related to COVID-19 or COVID-19 vaccination efforts to people in the community.
COVID-19 Announcements can be used to communicate:
· Information on existing COVID-19 resources, such as helplines
· Updates on hospital bed availability in districts, such as Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds and oxygen supported beds
· Changes to existing COVID-19 rules and regulation that can impact communities and day-to-day actions, such as lockdowns, night curfews and changes to treatment protocols
· Information about vaccine eligibility and registration, and the logistics of acquiring a vaccine
· Accurate information on COVID-19 appropriate behaviour
· Preventive behavioural health measures to stop the spread of COVID-19