GUWAHATI, April 16 - At this time of crisis, the Assam Police is making optimum use of the social media not only to reach out to the people to educate them, but also help out the people in need. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the social media posts of the Assam Police are reaching out to millions of people to educate them and also to help those in need.
Additional Director General of Police, Harmeet Singh said, �as with every crisis situation we have faced in the past, communication is the key. This is also vital in this hour of crisis. Social media has always been an important aspect of our communication strategy, as it allows us to facilitate conversations around the crisis, connect us to the citizens and directly communicate with them.�
Singh said that the Assam Police followed a multi pronged strategy of sensitization, reaching out to the community to provide relief, and being a credible source of information in this �Infodemic.� This has been not only for the people, but as a source of information for the media, too. The Assam Police is also using the social media to prevent anyone from creating confusion in the minds of people with false information.
The Smart Social Media Centre of the Assam Police has been very proactive in dealing with COVID-19 crisis, getting into action as early as March 12. Since, then, the social media team has been running a wide range of campaigns- sensitising citizens on the gravity of crisis, lockdown guidelines, various dos & don�ts, importance of social distancing and the menace of misinformation through regular advisories, memes, graphic explainers and videos.
The reach, especially, after stepping up of the social media content push has been phenomenal. Till now, with a reach of over 18.1 million users, 8.76 million post engagements and over a period of three weeks, some of the awareness video campaigns have gone viral reaching more than 6 million views. Similarly, on Twitter, the social media team has received more than 2 million impressions. The police personnel also disseminate their message through WhatsApp to each of the police personnel, who then pass it to their social networks. This reach is massive and incalculable.
For example, an awareness video from Tinsukia on the importance of personal hygiene and social distancing has received around 3 million views alone. The video campaign on Bihu awareness, put up a couple of days back, has already received 1.1 million views and over 30 thousand shares on Facebook.
Singh said that the social media also allows sensationalism and disinformation to spread quickly - and that�s where the social media team of the police comes in. �Our response to the Infodemic fallout of COVID-19 has been multi pronged too. We have been putting out regular Advisories to sensitise citizens on the menace of fake news and rumours.
With the kind of reach our social media channels have, the content pushed through our social media channels is then being used by TV, electronic, radio and other digital mediums as a credible source of information. This is key to fighting misinformation- being a credible source of information to counter the fake narratives,� he added. The Assam Police is also taking tough action against those involved in spreading rumours and false news.
Social media has also emerged as a platform to provide relief and assistance to those in distress and in emergency due to the lockdown guidelines. The police social media response team, apart from handling regular queries, is also responding to people who are reaching out to it for help. From providing life saving medicines to food essentials and ration, the team coordinates with the concerned Districts Police to facilitate the delivery of essential items to people in need. Through Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp, the team receives a good number of queries on an average everyday. All district arms of the team are also running their own relief campaigns and providing assistance to the needy.