Few terminologies in today’s post-virus era should be understood fully so that people may really get to know about another or perhaps the real crisis the world is facing right now that is Infodemic. Yes, it is not COVID-19 pandemic but its infodemic.
What does that mean? In simple words it’s an availability of hell amount of misinformation in which you can’t differentiate which information is right and which is wrong. According to dictionary.com, infodemic is an overload of information, often false or unverified, about a problem, especially a major crisis. Quickly spreading in the news, online, and through social media, this information fuels fear and speculation, making the problem worse, not better.
According to WHO, infodemic is an uprising challenge as the popular use of social media and communication technologies is rising.
United Nations since the deadly coronavirus pandemic hit the world launched COVID-19 Communications Response Initiative to stem the misinformation about the use of disinfectants to combat the coronavirus.
The worrisome situation is misinformation comes from all sides when you really need to fix your problems in order to plan future course of actions. Remember in pre-virus era, scholars and populist leaders in the world were debating about the fake news and in fact they were actually themselves spreading the fake news. Now, this time, the situation is pretty awkward and you can sense the gravity of problem that now from everywhere you are getting fake news. The first misinformation you are getting it from your twitter feed with countless and endless twitter accounts claiming themselves as experts followed by endless articles and Youtube videos what to do and what you really should not to do amid the pandemic.
The scarcity of genuine information makes the situation worse and people are relying on the TV channels and more specifically on the digital platforms but to no avail, Youtubers are busy in asking such questions Is coronavirus real? Is this China and US bio-war against each other?
Interestingly, you are being surrounded with these kinds of questions or conspiracy theories most when you needed real and genuine information so you could store the ration, plan you days trips, to know which sanitizer is real and what are the fake brands in the markets.
United Nations said false claims like virus spread through radio waves and mobile networks and unreliable information is hurting the global effort to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.
To rally forces behind this effort, the United Nations is launching a new COVID-19 Communications Response Initiative based on science, solutions and solidarity to fight misinformation.
“Fear, uncertainty, and the proliferation of fake news have the potential to weaken the national and global response to the virus, bolster nativist narratives and provide opportunities for those who may seek to exploit this moment to deepen social divisions,” said Melissa Fleming, Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications.
“All this threatens to undermine the international cooperation urgently needed to deal with the impacts of this crisis.”
Here are some examples of how the United Nations is tackling the spread of misinformation with producing and disseminating facts and accurate information, partnering with businesses, working with media and journalists, mobilizing civil society and speaking out for rights”
Few tips from the media studies scholars to avoid the infodemic of misinformation is not to believe on every information you are getting from social media and try to disseminate facts and accurate information only when you are sure about the information accuracy and by doing this both, you will be less harming yourself and would become a source to stem the misinformation.
Remember, the avalanche of misinformation is keep on rolling in this post-virus era but maintain consciousness and discouraging the false information and fake news, people can get away with the danger.
In a recent webinar conducted by Gabriela Gorjón, a public information officer in our Mexico, she said, “Reliable and critical information has always proven to be important. However, in this time of crisis, it has proven to be even more important.”