Social media platforms are amongst the most widely used sources of information in the world. However, there is concern about the way we use these platforms. Are we using the platforms to disseminate proper information? Spreading of misinformation during the pandemic has become a real menace;
sometimes, we feel that the infodemic (the spreading of misinformation) is contagious than the pandemic. Social media have the great advantage of rapid dissemination of educational content in the COVID-19 era. When social media came in to the scene in the 2000’s it created a total transformation as to how we interact with each other. It became the go to source for communicating with friends and family. Gradually, it evolved as a platform where people can transcend boundaries and limitlessly connect with anyone. It is the new power that people possess in the current context. Nevertheless, it has its own pros and cons. Misinformation is the hot potato during the current circumstances. People spread misinformation on topics such as healthcare, medication, disease, religion and politics. It’s quite dangerous spreading fake news during an era where there is a global pandemic. This fake news pandemic is quite tough to tackle. The COVID – 19 pandemic experiences parallel epidemic led by fake news or misinformation. It disrupts public health communication and triggers mass anxiety.
Why Do People Spread Misinformation?
Once false information is published, it can then be spread to very wide audiences through “organic reach”. Bot networks and coordinated inauthentic activity are important, everyday human behaviour that account for a great deal of the spread of false information People who encounter the material may share it to their own networks of contacts, friends, and family. Even if they don’t deliberately share it, interacting with the material in other ways, such as ‘liking’ it, may cause a social network’s algorithms to increase its visibility.
What Can We Do to Stop the Spread of Misinformation?
1. Be critical when you look at social media.
2. Don’t leave false information in your online networks. You can politely ask the person who shared it to remove it.
3. Report the false information to the platform administrators.
4. When in doubt, take the time to verify the shared information.
5. Make more noise than people who share false information. Let’s think of the society and refrain from spreading misinformation as responsible global citizens.