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August 24, 2021

Stop the spread: Covid-19 misinformation circulating on social media can be harmful

Officials have spoken out about the dangers of Covid-19 and other health misinformation on social media, but this is increasingly difficult to identify.

By GlobalData Healthcare

Social media has fueled Covid-19 misinformation since the beginning of the pandemic, casting doubts about both the legitimacy of the vaccines and of Covid-19 as a whole. The misinformation circulating online can be dangerous to the health of the public, as some posts promote medicines that have not been deemed safe for Covid-19 treatment, while other posts encourage individuals to refuse receiving a Covid-19 vaccination.

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COVID-19 continues to dominate headlines the world over. It has already affected our lives forever. The way we work, shop, eat, seek medical advice, and socialize will all be different in the future. Quite how different remains to be seen, but all industries must plan for multiple eventualities.  Faced with an explosion of conflicting information on how to plan and implement successful recovery strategies, decision-makers are in dire need of a single, reliable source of intelligence.   GlobalData’s COVID-19 Executive Briefing gives you access to unparalleled data and insights to successfully navigate the uncertain road to recovery across the world’s largest industries. Understand every aspect of this disruptive theme by delving into: 
  •  COVID-19 infection update, with statistics on the spread, testing by country, as well as the latest data on vaccines and therapeutic developments 
  • Economic impact overview, covering stock market indices, GDP, unemployment rates, policy responses & GlobalData’s economic recovery scorecards 
  • Sector developments, with access to sector insight summaries, cross-sector indices and the leaders and laggards in each industry vertical 
Whatever your company’s imminent strategic plans, the long-lasting impact of COVID-19 must not be overlooked. Find out how to futureproof your business operations – download our report today. 
by GlobalData
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The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has publicly warned against the use of many products that have been shared on social media with claims that they can prevent or treat Covid-19. Said products include sanitisers, disinfectants, ultraviolet lights and even at-home Covid-19 tests and antigen tests. In addition to fake products, several posts on social media have claimed that various legitimate products are ineffective. For example, posts and videos have circulated that claim masks are ineffective and will not protect anyone from contracting Covid-19. Rumours have circulated through social media about Covid-19 test swabs, including that testing people leads to more Covid-19 cases. People have also shared videos on social media that claim test swabs contain ethylene oxide, a cancer-causing chemical. Although this claim has been corrected by health officials, the misinformation is still shared.

While public health and government officials have spoken out about the dangers of health misinformation circulating on social media, it is increasingly difficult to identify inaccurate or misleading information online. Misinformation can be presented in a sophisticated or scientific way, making it look like a legitimate source of information. As a result, public health and government officials have turned to social media platforms to address the issue and stop the spread of misinformation. Twitter has recently announced that its users are now able to report Covid-19 misinformation in the same way they can report harassment or offensive content. Instagram and Facebook have also started to flag some content, so that such posts remain online but now include a note stating that they have been fact-checked and proven to be partially or fully false.

Social media platforms are unlikely to do anything else to prevent misinformation, and it is virtually impossible to flag every post that contains false data and news. Perhaps the only solution to the spread of Covid-19 misinformation is to fact check individually when coming across a post about Covid-19 and ensuring vigilance when consuming information found on social media.

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Free Report
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Navigate your business through the ‘new normal’

COVID-19 continues to dominate headlines the world over. It has already affected our lives forever. The way we work, shop, eat, seek medical advice, and socialize will all be different in the future. Quite how different remains to be seen, but all industries must plan for multiple eventualities.  Faced with an explosion of conflicting information on how to plan and implement successful recovery strategies, decision-makers are in dire need of a single, reliable source of intelligence.   GlobalData’s COVID-19 Executive Briefing gives you access to unparalleled data and insights to successfully navigate the uncertain road to recovery across the world’s largest industries. Understand every aspect of this disruptive theme by delving into: 
  •  COVID-19 infection update, with statistics on the spread, testing by country, as well as the latest data on vaccines and therapeutic developments 
  • Economic impact overview, covering stock market indices, GDP, unemployment rates, policy responses & GlobalData’s economic recovery scorecards 
  • Sector developments, with access to sector insight summaries, cross-sector indices and the leaders and laggards in each industry vertical 
Whatever your company’s imminent strategic plans, the long-lasting impact of COVID-19 must not be overlooked. Find out how to futureproof your business operations – download our report today. 
by GlobalData
Enter your details here to receive your free Report.

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