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Misinformation on COVID-19 in the media

A new study looks into the amount of inaccurate information online regarding COVID-19.

COVID-19 virus under magnifying glass

The study compared the amount misinformation about COVID-19 from early in the pandemic to other health issues.

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Based on the inaccuracies of other health information online, authors found the amount of misinformation on COVID-19 to be ‘entirely predictable.’ You can find a list of all the top misconceptions here.

Social media isn’t new to having questionable health information floating around. When the pandemic began experts began to recommend hand washing, mask wearing, and social distancing and vaccination as it became available. These behaviors are intended to keep you and those around you safe.

Some ignored the guidance given by professionals as other, inaccurate,  information became available. World Health Organization Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, called the spreading of misinformation an “infodemic” on February 15, 2020.

In 2020, this research team assessed roughly 325 million Facebook and Twitter posts. They compared these posts about COVID-19 to other health related posts from the year prior.

Prof. Mark Dredze, of Johns Hopkins, and co-author of this study said: “Misinformation has always been present, even at higher proportions, before COVID-19 started. Many people knew this, which makes the ensuing misinformation spread during COVID-19 entirely predictable. Had we been more proactive in fighting misinformation, we may not have been in an anti-vaccination crisis today.”

There are plenty of credible sources available online, but they aren’t necessarily getting the same level of attention as the misinformation.

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Categories: HealthNews