Fake News & Health
With a plethora of information hitting our social media screens we are forced to sort between what is fake news and what is real. But this is not as easy as one may assume. This is another task to add to your already busy schedule.
Following the coronavirus pandemic and lock down, people have been spreading well meaning advice on how to evade it that is by washing hands and not leaving your house. This advice is part of the consensus but there are more types of information that might not be in line with general health institutional guidelines. There are others are using a similar guise to spread information on how to cure the coronavirus including measures such as doing cocaine, ingesting bleach, and engaging in other activities that might seem strange to fight a virus.
For instance a very prominent “influencer” on Youtube, Jordan Sather tweeted his Miracle Mineral Solutions. The individual is followed by 121,000 people. Sather advised that consuming bleach is the solution which will alleviate the effects of the Coronavirus. His tweet seemed factual where he went on to state chlorine dioxide cures cancer but also helps in the treatment of Covid-19 as well. To push people to actually believe him he concluded by saying that Big Pharma does not want you to know this.
Of course, this is false information and the FDA reiterated as much.
The Federal Drug Administration has also released information stating that consuming chlorine dioxide could cause harmful effects such vomiting, diarrhea, blood pressure problems and damage to the organs. Fake news talking about a possible cure is taking advantage of the fear of much of the population.
Institutions and Fighting Fake News
Facebook has placed a third party fact checking program which warns people about false information. On March 3, Mark Zuckerberg posted regarding the issue and said that Facebook is now working with national health authorities other medical organizations to focus on accurate information regarding the coronavirus on their platform.
Twitter is a whole other story. Dangerous information keeps going unchecked every day, and that too from verified accounts with thousands of followers. On Sunday Twitter issued a Manipulated Media label. But it is still not reliable as many posts may still be misleading.
Countries are going further and taking independent steps to refute false information. For example, during the weekend the social media account of the French government tweeted a statement on the famed cures of the disease stating cocaine to have no relation to curing the coronavirus.