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A big name just joined TikTok – but it’s not WHO you think

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has joined TikTok in an attempt to combat mis-information about the coronavirus.

The global organisation hopes to spread helpful health advice on the popular social network. In the WHO’s debut video, Benedetta Allegranzi, Technical Lead for Infection Prevention and Control, delivers a short piece to camera explaining how best to avoid contracting and spreading coronavirus.

Screenshot of WHO on TikTok about COVID-19

The post caption reads: “We are joining @tiktok to provide you with reliable and timely public health advice! Our first post: How to protect yourself from #coronavirus?”

Related: How to delete a TikTok account

The WHO opening a TikTok account seems to have been intended to combat the spread of misinformation around the disease. That spread has been particularly noted in Iran, where 24 individuals were arrested for spreading rumours about the coronavirus (via BBC). The country has been hit hard by the virus, which has killed over 200 people and even been contracted by Deputy Health Minister, Iraj Harirchi.

The virus’ appearance in northern Italy was also particularly hard to trace, leading to increased efforts to monitor, control and limit the spread of coronavirus. The WHO taking to social media is the latest effort.

Seemingly the WHO has chosen TikTok as a way to target younger audiences for its advice. Young people, who may be less likely to engage with other news and advice channels, could be more likely to see the TikTok post. Figures from GlobalWebIndex suggest 41% of TikTok users are aged between 16 and 24.

Related: Top TikTok tips… from a 30-odd year old Xennial

Typical TikTok fare is somewhat different to what the WHO is offering. The organisations advice video contrasts oddly with the short dance videos TikTok is known for displaying. It will be interesting to see if coronavirus fears are enough to popularise this a-typical content on the platform.

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