Social media influencers are being deployed by the Finnish government in its fight against the Coronavirus.
They have been classified as ‘critical actors’, alongside bus drivers and doctors, for their ability to connect with young people, who may not get their news from traditional media outlets. Finland is believed to be the only country in the world to have afforded influencers such status.
The Finnish government and MediaPool, the country’s national emergency supply agency, are working with PING Helsinki, a social media influencer consultancy with a 1,500-strong network of influencers. The collaboration between PING Helsinki and MediaPool dates back to 2018, when they started to explore ways to secure reliable information in crisis situations.
Government communications director Päivi Anttikoski said: ‘We can reach a large portion of the public in Finland through official communications and traditional media channels, but it is clear that the messages of the authorities do not always reach all population groups. The aim of this cooperation is to provide better access to information for those who are difficult to reach through traditional media and communications... In this exceptional situation, social media has a very important role to play in disseminating information.’
PING Helsinki converts government messages into social media-friendly text and shares these with its network, who are then free to amend to suit their personalities or tone, according to Politico. None of the influencers receive a fee but PING Helsinki offers nine pieces of advice about the information they should post.
- Stop and think for three seconds before sharing anything.
- Review content critically.
- Recognise what is a fact and what is an opinion
- If you claim something, check that it is true
- Always tell your followers where the information came from
- Critically evaluate
- Don’t share a story that includes incorrect information
- If you accidentally post incorrect information, correct your mistake
- Recognise your own preconceptions