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Pinterest is combating coronavirus misinformation with custom search results

Igor Bonifacic
Contributing Writer
World Health Organization

Pinterest is taking a proactive step to stop the spread of coronavirus-related misinformation. The company told The Verge it's introducing a "custom search experience" to ensure its users can get reliable information when they turn to the platform for information about the epidemic.

With the new experience in place, the next time you search for "coronavirus" and "COVID-19," Pinterest will surface curated pins created by the World Health Organization. Besides sharing tips on how to protect yourself, some pins try to anticipate questions people may have about the crisis. For example, one of the WHO's infographics touches on whether pets can contract the new coronavirus.

Notably, when we searched for "SARS-CoV-2," the name of the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease, we still saw community pins. Pinterest will likely shore that up, but to be sure, we've reached out to the company for confirmation. We'll update this article once we hear back.

"We've been working with the World Health Organization over the last year to connect Pinners to facts about critical health topics, from the new coronavirus to vaccines," a Pinterest spokesperson told The Verge. "We want to do our part to make sure people can find authoritative information when it really counts."

This isn't the first time Pinterest has tried to be proactive about an ongoing health issue. Last year, the company partnered with the WHO and several other reputable health organizations to combat the spread of anti-vaxxer misinformation. Then as now, the company worked with the WHO to surface content with accurate information.

Update 1:52PM ET: Pinterest told us it plans to monitor the terms people search for and update as needed. Read the company's full statement below.

We're currently reviewing the search terms that we serve this experience on and will update as necessary. As part of our ongoing work on health misinformation, we are actively watching out for potential coronavirus-related misinformation. We also encourage Pinners that see anything that looks like it might be health misinformation to let us know by using the "health misinformation" option in our Pin report feature.