Covid-19 Avoid falling into false information by pedro graterol
One of the main goals of our campaign, COVIDatos, is to combat COVID-19 disinformation because it has become a severe problem during the pandemic. In recent editions, we have discussed how the World Health Organization has talked about an “infodemic” and a recent New Yorker essay discussed the impact that disinformation campaigns about COVID are having in the Latino community. Our goal has been to combat disinformation with factual and verified facts so that we can balance the noise that is proliferating online.
Disinformation might seem foreign to the other sides of the complex health emergency that is the pandemic. However, the spread of disinformation has caused vaccine and mask hesitancy, while both of these tools are key to ending the crisis. We are all vulnerable to fake information so it’s key to stay aware, and actively consume information so that we don’t make choices grounded on misinformation and expose ourselves and our loved ones to unnecessary risk. Here we bring you some questions you should ask while processing information online.
When is the information from? Always check that the information you receive has a clear date. COVID and its variants are a new disease and there’s changing knowledge on the severity and transmission rate of the virus. Check that the date is recent, so you have the most updated information.
Who shares the information? We all share information for one reason or another: to entertain, to inform, to warn of danger. You must ask yourself what the reason is behind the information that is being shared. Also, consider where you receive it from. If it’s in a WhatsApp thread without a date or evidence, it’s time to question it. If it’s in a highly reliable newspaper, you can trust it more easily.
What evidence is in the information? High-quality news is backed by evidence. Think about what evidence is in the news. Maybe it’s the testimony of a reporter or the data from a scientific journal. Consider also if that evidence adequately supports what you are reading.
What do other sources say about it? The information doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Go to fact-checking sites like PortalCheck and check what multiple highly reputable sources like the Washington Post or the New York Times are saying. While you read something, actively verify what other media is reporting before trusting information. Be an active reader and a critical thinker and prevent disinformation. Together we can end the pandemic
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