How Qwant accompanies the battle against the Covid-19 coronavirus

In the health crisis we are all going through together, everyone is called upon to do everything they can to help roll back the Covid-19 coronavirus.

18 September 2023

In the health crisis we are all going through together, everyone is called upon to do everything they can to help roll back the Covid-19 coronavirus. As a search engine, our responsibility is to give you easy access to the most useful and reliable information possible, while of course respecting our commitment to neutrality with regard to the information we index and present in our search results.

This is why Qwant has, for many weeks, put in place a series of measures that have been gradually extended and that have evolved to best support the management of the crisis. Qwant is also actively involved in the coordination initiated by the public authorities to mobilize search engines and social networks to fight against false information, scams and misleading commercial practices online, in the context of COVID-19.

For us, it is a question of ensuring that our service responds to the urgency and gravity of the situation, including by putting in place exceptional and unprecedented measures.

Very early on, our first concern was to highlight, above our natural research results, useful information and relevant and official sources. As early as February, when reported cases were still rare in France, we chose to display an awareness message calling for people to dial 15 to contact the emergency services in case of symptoms on all searches directly related to the coronavirus. This message then evolved to follow the health strategy by adapting the recommendations to the context of the moment. It also integrates the free phone number set up by the State to answer all questions about the Covid-19 coronavirus, and refers to the official websites of the French government and the World Health Organization (WHO) for day-to-day monitoring of the situation.

Faced with the risks of misinformation and especially misleading information, we have of course Suppressed illicit results which have been notified to us by the competent authorities, and have proactively removed many dangerous results for public health, in particular the actual or alleged sale of regulated medicinal products by unauthorised pharmacies. The rise in the number of scam attempts and dangerous information has led us to systematically alert Qwant users who are looking for certain products and services, and to prohibit our advertisers from advertising keywords related to the virus.

To accompany you in the period of mandatory confinement, a search for the derogatory certificate immediately leads to the tool to generate a paper or digital certificate. We have also enriched the information highlighted with a link to a tool to visualize the perimeter in which individual walking is allowed, as well as a link to the platform intended to connect suppliers and applicants of basic necessities.

On Qwant Maps, our users wishing to move to a public place are also made aware of the confinement order, and warned when a place is not open during this period, in order to avoid any unnecessary travel. This information is fed collaboratively by the Open Street Map community, and more specifically by the collective Ca Reste Ouvert.

Finally, because the most decisive action will be to find a cure as quickly as possible, Qwant has decided to mobilize significant computing capacities for the benefit of scientific research. We have dedicated Nvidia DGX computers to the specific research program of the Folding@Home program, aimed at modeling the shapes and interactions of SARS Covid-19 virus proteins.

On a daily basis, Qwant mobilizes and exchanges with the State services that accompany us in this COVID-19 context, with the SIG, the DGE, the DGCCRF, the Ministries of the Interior, Health and National Education.

We have other ideas and the whole system will continue to evolve. The entire Qwant team remains fully mobilized in this fight and invests with energy to provide the most relevant and useful information, in full respect of our values.

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