Facebook has launched a new Messenger Community Hub which attempts to put together a bunch of suggestions on how to stay connected during this Coronavirus lockdown. There are tips for parents, educators, businesses and government health organizations on how they can use Facebook Messenger to stay connected with their communities and contacts at this time when stepping out of homes is restricted in most countries, including India. The lockdown comes as an attempt to stall the spread of the Coronavirus, or COVID-19. What perhaps stands out in the Messenger Community Hub is the guidance on how to avoid being scammed. Facebook Messenger is the second most used instant messaging app in the world, after its sibling WhatsApp, and that makes the Messenger Community Hub even more relevant.
For Government Health Organizations and Businesses, Facebook suggests using the messaging features for Pages, which can be leveraged for instant and automated responses, such as for frequently asked questions. Parents have been directed towards the Messenger Kids app, which not many parents may know of, that is designed for children in the age group of 6-12 years. Parents can set up virtual homework sessions, control the contacts list, access to kid-friendly stickers, GIFs and Emojis as well as control how much time kids spend on the Messenger Kids platform. Educators can use the group voice or video calls feature for up to 8 participants, or also use the messaging features for Pages if there are larger groups, they need to get access to. These tips could be handy at these times, when conversations between colleagues and friends are happening online, classrooms have gone virtual and more and more people are receiving forwards and information on social media which may or may not be true.
Facebook urges users to be wary of any requests asking for money or offering treatments that could cure Coronavirus, for instance. That is even more important if you don’t know the person making this request, in real life. Facebook says users should look for the verified account badge before accepting any invitations for conversation—there could be a lot of people faking identities to look genuine.