Some mobile phone operators, including Vodafone and Orange SA, have begun inserting coronavirus-related public health suggestions for staying indoors on customers’ smartphones in recent days, using the small snippet of text that generally accompanies the connection signal symbols on the top left of a phone screen.
According to social media consultant Matt Navarra, who began posting and retweeting examples on his Twitter account Tuesday afternoon, messages appear on customers’ phones in Germany, courtesy of the Vodafone-based telecommunications company based in the United Kingdom.
According to a wave of responses to Navarra’s initial tweet, similar messages also appear around the world. Users have responded with their own screenshots showing various versions of “stay home” in several different languages.
That includes Romania (“Stamacasa”); Peru (“YoMeQuedoEnCasa”), Turkey (“EvdeKal”) and Indonesia (“DiRumahAja”). And people in Belgium, France, India, and Nigeria are reported to be seeing English versions of the phrase or native language versions, depending on telecommunications.
Messages appear to appear in some markets only when Wi-Fi is turned off, as Nevarra said in Germany. But that is not always a requirement to see the message, as you can see in the following example from Peru:
It is unclear if this is a concerted effort by multiple telecommunications, or if one company decided to take the initiative and others have followed suit. But it is an unprecedented use of small but vital screen space that telecommunications have control over to promote the public health benefit that could save lives in the coming weeks and months.