Coronavirus X Social Media | Steps to combat the “infodemic”
Coronavirus (Covid-19) is taking the world by storm. Entire Countries are on Lockdown, others on the way and prospects of a global economic meltdown are looming. Amidst this social media played a major role. On the one hand, promoting awareness, prevention and social distancing, on the other, fostering fear, panic, bogus remedies, conspiracy theories
For the World Health Organization, the key to battle this virus starts with battling misinformation, or “infodemic”, coming from everyone’s smartphone.
This blog sheds light on measures taken by social media platforms to help set the record straight and try to minimize the impact of fake news and hoaxes trying to profit.
Facebook decided to implement a ban on ads for all companies trying to make a commercial gain out of the virus, whether related to cures or prevention products that are not linked to scientific facts. By implementing this new policy, Facebook is trying to restrain those ads that create a sense of urgency while working on removing content with false claims or conspiracy theories that might harm people who believe them.
The Deputy Executive Director for Partnerships of UNICEF, Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, stated that misinformation during times of a health crisis can spread paranoia, fear and stigmatization. On top of that, it can result in people being left unprotected or more vulnerable to the virus as well. UNICEF, as well as Facebook, is actively taking steps to inform the public when inaccurate information, involving WHO or other government authorities, is published on social media platforms.
TikTok recently partnered with the WHO in an effort to spread veritable information, together with the best public health practices.
Respectively, Twitter also partnered with WHO and published a plan to protect the public from hoaxes on the platform as well. Their goal is to publish credible, authoritative content.
This “infodemic”, or over-abundance of information, makes it harder for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when needed. There are simple steps users can take themselves to combat mis- and disinformation. Consider the following questions before sharing dubious content:
- Is this the original account, article or piece of content?
- Who shared this or created it?
- When was this created?
- What account is sharing this? When was the account created? Do they share things from all over the world at all times during the day and night? Could this be a bot?
- Why was this shared?
For reliable information always fact check with: