Corona virus misinformation is rapidly flooding the internet. The human cost of the virus misinformation is rising globally, according to BBC. Below are steps you can take to stop the spread of misinformation about the virus:
Stop and think
With the recent rapid spread of the virus in the country, you might want to help your family and friends. You may feel the need to forward them any information you receive, to help them stay abreast.
According to experts, this could be very risky as it facilitates the spread of misinformation. The best way to reduce this risk is to stop and think before sending out any information.
Check your sources
There are a couple of ways you can do this. For instance, the Ministry of Health provides more information on the virus. So, in case you doubt any information, contacting MoH is the best move. Also, evaluating the information alone is another way. There are a number of sources you know provide factual information on the virus. These could be MoH, WHO among others.
Beware of impersonations
It is very possible to impersonate official accounts or authorities. Through these fake accounts, fake information could reach a large number of people and cause panic. Screenshots can also be made to look like information is coming from a trusted body. To curb this, always check out for mismatched fonts or capital letters to conduct a quick fact- check
You doubt it, do not share
Do not give room for doubts. If by any chance you doubt any information coming your way, do not share it. Avoid the “just in case” attitude when it comes to spreading news about the virus. Before sharing, use experts platforms, where your information can be corrected. If it is compulsory that you share information at hand, state your doubts clearly.
Check each fact, individually
There have been instances where by, a voice note is shared on Whats app. In this voice note, it is stated that the information is a translation of a health expert’s advice based in another country.
Mostly, people trust such information easily, simply because some facts such as “wash your hands regularly” are used. Go through such voice notes word by word before sharing.
Think about biases
The question here is, are you sharing information because you know it is true or simply because you believe in it?According to Carl Miller, research director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at think tank Demos, “We are more likely to share posts that reinforce our existing beliefs.”
“It is when we are angrily nodding our head that we are most vulnerable. That is when, above everything else, we just need to slow down everything that we do online.” He adds.