If you’re unsure about a coronavirus-related question, the best place to go is an official health agency website, like the CDC’s coronavirus FAQ page, or the World Health Organization’s “myth busters” portal.
But if you’re just looking to test your knowledge and bone up on Covid-19 facts, you can now do so with a trivia game in your Snapchat app —and the help of an animated coronavirus molecule.
At 12:00 a.m. PT on Thursday, Snapchat will roll out a “Covid-19 Myth Busting” game. It’s a trivia game that appears as an interactive filter over the selfie-facing camera view. The questions and answers are based on information from the WHO and contain similar content to the organization’s dedicated myth-busting center.
Look, coronavirus is no game. But the more people know about how to prevent its spread — whether they acquire that knowledge through targeted information seeking or a lighthearted but factually correct game — the better.
“We know that young people learn from games,” Kelly Mendoza, the senior director of education programs at Common Sense Media, told Mashable when asked what she thought about myth-busting in the format of a game on social media. “A lot of teens like to play games on their phones, so it’s a great way to deliver content and engage young people in this issue.”
When you start playing, a question about coronavirus (Can coronavirus stay on your skin?) will appear at the bottom of the screen, and you tap “true” or “false.” The filter will then change, showing whether you got it right or wrong.
You then have the option to tap the camera button on that screen, which lets you send a snap of yourself within the frame of the game to a friend. That friend can then play the game, too, and you can send questions and answers back and forth to each other. Public health, but make it cute.
“I think it’s great that there’s a social component,” Mendoza said. “We know that information gets spread easily through sharing. So sharing accurate information is something we want to model. Especially if it’s done in a way that you don’t have to call someone out, in a kind of safe space.”
The game will roll out in the lens carousel to Snapchat users late Wednesday/early Thursday; the icon is a yellow circle with a blue coronavirus illustration.
However, you can try out the game right now by scanning the Snapchat code below with the app’s camera. Then, the game should pop right up. From there, you can play, test your knowledge, and challenge your friends.
Tech companies are battling coronavirus misinformation through fact portals, down-ranking and removing harmful information and products, introducing fact-checking programs, and more. Snapchat also launched a new way to learn about coronavirus through a designated space in its Discover platform on Wednesday. The trivia game is an altogether different, and readily accessible, approach.
Without in-person school or activities, maybe the Snapchat youth will be just bored enough to play a game that trojan horses public health information into their brains. Will it be enough to get them to take social distancing seriously? Here’s hoping.
UPDATE: March 25, 2020, 4:32 p.m. PDT This article was updated to include comments from the nonprofit organization Common Sense, which researches and advises parents on young people and media.