Update 2.5.2020: Spreading fake news on COVID-19 can land you in prison
Update 2.1.2020: Employers Responsibility to Prevent COVID-19
- WHO declares global emergency over the 2019-nCov ARD outbreak
- South Korea cracks down on fake news about spread of coronavirus
- Thailand arrests two for ‘fake news’ posts on coronavirus
- Malaysia arrests five for spreading fake news about coronavirus
- Facebook struggles to stem spread of coronavirus misinformation
- Coronavirus Misinformation Is Spreading All Over Social Media
- Here’s A Running List Of Disinformation Spreading About The Coronavirus
- Top 6 fake coronavirus news stories
Health Secretary Francisco Duque on Monday urged the public not to spread misinformation and fake news about the COVID-19.
Fake news, misinformation and disinformation is not new. Both mis and dis information may fall under fake news, but misinformation unlike, disinformation, is not intentional. Disinformation is deliberate and calibrated.
Disinformation is being used as PR and Marketing tool to shape public opinion for or against a political or public figure, or even an organization. That’s why news organizations like Rappler, and even Facebook have set-up a fact checking mechanism to debunk a lie.
In the case of coronavirus, most cases will likely fall under misinformation. The sources of misinformation meant good, but failed to exercise due diligence. As a consequence, it spread fear to the general public. There maybe a few mischievous individuals whose entertainment is to see people panic and make a fool of themselves.
Misinformation, Disinformation and Fake News is Spreading Faster Than COVID-19
Singapore has already invoked its fake news law against an online website for spreading inaccurate information. In China, the government is not only battling the virus, but also fake news that is spreading faster than the Wuhan Novel Corona virus or 2019nCov.
A post circulating on the popular messaging app WeChat suggested that cities where patients had fallen sick should set off fireworks to kill the disease in the air. Another viral post declared vinegar and indigowoad root — a flower commonly used in Chinese medicine — to be the “golden pair,” or ideal solution, in preventing infection, forcing China’s cabinet-level National Health Commission to clarify in its own social-media post that the “golden pair” wouldn’t fend off the deadly virus. (The Wall Street Journal)
Below are examples of misinformation relative to 2019nCov virus that was spotted by this news site:
- A website for the Hal Turner Show noted false numbers of what number of human beings have been affected.Have 23 million people quarantined, 2.8 million infected, and 112,000 people killed from the coronavirus in China No, that’s not true.
- A story about children being deserted in an airport has circulating extensively on social media because of 9Gag.
- The statistics on the tweet below is false.People are literally dying on the streets of China, 20 million on lockdown, the deadly #coronavirus is spreading across the globe (now 11 countries) at unprecedented rate and WHO director just said that “each country is on its own” and “wash your hands” pic.twitter.com/ItOiTjmmbz — Statistics (@AwStatistics) January 23, 2020
Dark Social, Infodemic, Misinformation and Fake News
Dark social, as mentioned in my last post, is not the same as the deep and dark web. Dark social is a marketing lingo that refers to engagement of internet and social web users that are difficult to track, because the engagement happen outside the reach of marketing tools. Dark social includes the different messaging apps like viber, messenger, telegram, whatapp and signal.
Information that are being shared on mainstream social media can be easily corrected. But the spread of misinformation in dark social is something that cannot be corrected unless the recipient flagged it and have it subjected to fact checking.
Wifey have received several video clips, alleged DOH advisories, and ‘tsismis’ from individuals who have friends or relatives working in a hospital where an alleged infected patients are being treated. Due diligence have cautioned her to pass said info until trustworthy news sites carried a WHO or DOH press advisories.
The call of Health Secretary Duque should be heeded. But I guess with or without a medical crisis like the corona virus, there should be a sustainable campaign to combat disinformation, misinformation and fake news. The public, specially students, should be taught critical thinking, digital citizenship and digital accountability to keep both our online and offline environment less toxic.
Have you received an unverified information about the virus in your messaging app? Please share below in the comments section.