To contain and mitigate the virus of misinformation needs multi-levelled, socio-cultural approaches.
In Africa, people who report higher levels of exposure to disinformation also report lower levels of media trust.
Unlike the US, Australia hasn’t yet been hit by a large-scale disinformation campaign focussed on meddling with elections. But this is a ‘realistic prospect’ moving forward.
Instead of debunking false claims, psychology shows promoting the facts is a more effective way to fight the spread of misinformation.
Shannon Rose, left, joined other demonstrators calling for Gov. Gavin Newsom to end the stay-at-home orders during a protest at the state capitol in Sacramento, Calif., on May 9, 2020.
(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
From political ideologies, conspiracy theories or “reopen” protests, when faced with uncertainty, we seek reassurance in the face of mortality through efforts at containment.
A woman walks past a graffiti by Anthony Kihoro in Kenya sensitising people about the coronavirus.
Dennis Sigwe/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
COVID-19 differs significantly from HIV and Ebola. But the potential consequences of having a misinformed public are similar.
The recognition that COVID-19 is accompanied by an equally alarming “infodemic” has added a level of complexity to the situation. What are the consequences of this avalanche of information?
Out and about: Jair Bolsanaro waves to supporters during a rally in Brasilia on April 19.
Jair Bolsonaro has ignored and openly challenged the advice of health authorities, sacked his health minister and tried to use the pandemic for political gain.
A sign outside Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver, B.C., explains visitor restrictions to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19.
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Hospitals have requested that people avoid non-emergency visits, and conspiracy theorists are posting images of empty parking lots online as false proof that COVID-19 is an elaborate hoax.
Fake news spread on social media claims “super foods” can cure COVID-19.
Danijela Maksimovic/ Shutterstock
There is no evidence that garlic, lemons, and the ketogenic diet can prevent or cure coronavirus.
Conspiracy theories increase the likelihood that people won’t follow expert advice.
Conspiracy theories and misinformation about coronavirus damage society in a number of ways.
A young school boy running past a mural in Soweto, South Africa.
Attempting to defeat these folk theories with science achieved little; the myth busters of the AIDS epidemic were talking past those they were trying to convince.
Twitter’s efforts to label misinformation during the US primaries haven’t met with success. So how do we sift useful coronavirus information from wrong or downright dangerous untruths?
Somali women on a coronavirus awareness campaign.
Some of the false claims about coronavirus may be harmless. But others can be potentially dangerous.
Misinformation and unfounded claims about COVID-19 have flooded social media sites as the new coronavirus has spread.
Alain Jocard/AFP via Getty Images
Social media analysts are seeing some alarming trends on Twitter, Facebook and other platforms as the new coronavirus spreads.
According to Bot Sentinel, #coronavirus and #COVID19 are among the top hashtags being used by Twitter bot accounts.
Gullibility, cynicism, pride, closed mindedness, negligence and wishful thinking. If you can use any of these to describe your reasoning, it’s likely you’re committing a sin of thought.
Facebook, the least trusted tech company, has taken the lead in fighting coronavirus misinformation.
AP Photo/Ben Margot
Facebook, Google and Twitter are stepping up to block misinformation and promote accurate information about the coronavirus. Their track records on self-policing are poor. The results so far are mixed.
Online misinformation can, to some extent, be addressed. But what is of concern to health-care communicators are the private communication pathways.
Online news sources continue to grow as a primary source of information and misinformation. But private platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are harder to monitor.
When you share information online, do it responsibly.
Here’s what to watch out for, so you can protect yourself – and your social circles – from lies, half-truths and misleading spins on current events.
The pandemic is increasing society’s reliance on digital connections.
MR.Cole_Photographer/Moment via Getty Images
Much of the world is moving online in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Society’s newly increased dependence on the internet is bringing the need for good cyber policy into sharp relief.