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Telecom companies urge people to ‘Stay Home’ in messages sneaked onto their phones’ home screens

Telecom companies are resorting to new methods to help encourage the world to stay home amid an ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Mobile operators including Vodafone and Orange S.A. have now started to include ‘Stay Home’ messages in the snippet of text that usually displays network information at the top left corner of one’s device.

Reports of the messages started to appear on Twitter in a thread created by social media consultant Matt Navarra.

Mobile phone operators in Germany show a #stayhome message when users switch off WiFi #coronavirus

ht Jannis Korner

According to the thread, customers of Vodafone in Germany, Peru, Turkey , and more started to see the notes. 

It’s not clear how many telecoms are currently displaying such messages, but the move is a notable development in the way tech companies have chosen to tackle their role in helping spread vital information about coronavirus. 

Historically, companies have never turned to the small but crucial space on one’s phone to deliver messages to customers.

The decision also reflects the rapid spread of novel coronavirus, COVID-19, which quickly accelerated from an outbreak in China to a global pandemic.

As a result, many across the world have been asked to remain home in an effort to stymie the viruses spread through isolation.

Other tech companies, including social media giants like Instagram, have also joined the effort to encourage people to isolate. 

This week, to help encourage best practices, Instagram rolled out new stickers that can be posted in Stories on its platform. 

Among other things, the new stickers contain reminders to wash your hands, distance yourself from other people and more. 

Those include a ‘Stay Home’ sticker, which is currently available, and Instagram says it will roll out more of those stickers in the coming week. 

In addition to the feature, Instagram said it’s also attempting to direct people away from misinformation about a novel coronavirus pandemic by promoting ‘educational messages’ from legitimate sources.

‘People who search for information related to the coronavirus or COVID-19 on Instagram will start to see an educational message connecting them to resources from the World Health Organization and local health ministries,’ the platform said in a blog post.

‘We are working quickly to make this available globally over the coming weeks.’


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