A demonstration of American anti-vaxxers who do not believe in the new corona virus. – Isopix
In the first three months of this year, at least 800 people have died of coronavirus misinformation. That writes the British public broadcaster BBC on the basis of a scientific magazine.
A study published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene found that approximately 5,800 people were hospitalized as a result of misinformation on social media. Misinformation is not to be confused with disinformation. The former refers to inaccurate information that is accidentally distributed, while the latter refers to deliberate dissemination of false information.
Often people died because they had taken the alcohol variant methanol or alcohol-based cleaning products, under the assumption that something like that would keep the virus away. The fact that US President Donald Trump raised the question during a press conference whether disinfectants can be used to fight the coronavirus in the body is a sign of this.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned in the past that the ‘infodemic’ around Covid-19 is spreading as quickly as the coronavirus itself. Fake news, conspiracy theories, rumors and cultural stigmatization surrounding Covid-19 are all phenomena that contribute to injuries and deaths, although the virus has essentially nothing to do with that.
In the scientific journal, the researchers are shifting responsibility to international agencies, governments and social networking sites to fight against this disinformation. In March, for instance, Instagram launched some corona-related features, while Facebook and Twitter temporarily banned US President Donald Trump’s campaign accounts for spreading false information about Covid-19.
The European Union was also stirring, because it will oblige social media companies to submit monthly reports on how they tackle false information about the corona virus. They have to prove that they promote credible content from reliable parties, raise the awareness of the users and limit the amount of disinformation.