•   
  •   
  •   

Technology Welcome to the first social media pandemic. Here are 8 ways you can stop the spread of coronavirus misinformation.

16:33  19 march  2020
16:33  19 march  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

Fears of new virus trigger anti-China sentiment worldwide

  Fears of new virus trigger anti-China sentiment worldwide A scary new virus from China has spread around the world. So has rising anti-Chinese sentiment, calls for a full travel ban on Chinese visitors and indignities for Chinese and other Asians. China has confirmed human-to-human transmission of a new SARS-like coronavirus linked to the Wuhan pneumonia outbreak. With the number of cases soaring and spreading to countries beyond China, the World Health Organization has declared an international public health emergency.

The alarming messages ping our laptops and phones and parachute into our social media feeds, text messages and private chat groups.

a man standing in front of a cloudy sky: A passenger uses his computer while wearing a protective face mask at the Phoenix International Airport on March 14. © Carol Coelho, Getty Images A passenger uses his computer while wearing a protective face mask at the Phoenix International Airport on March 14.

Be prepared for a national quarantine. Martial law is coming.

The coronavirus was cooked up in a bioweapons lab by the CIA, or the pharmaceutical industry, or was funded by the the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to boost vaccine sales.

Sip water every 15 minutes, gargle with ethanol or eat raw garlic to ward off infection.

None of it is true, but, as public fear and uncertainty grow with the rise in deaths and confirmed cases across the U.S., we are becoming increasingly susceptible to these wildly false and sometimes hazardous claims that tap into our urgent need for the latest information about how to protect ourselves and our families.

This is what China did to beat coronavirus. Experts say America couldn't handle it

  This is what China did to beat coronavirus. Experts say America couldn't handle it Beijing took radical and invasive coronavirus actions that many people outside China might find culturally, logistically and emotionally unpalatable.   "It was not just families being isolated together in Wuhan, but individuals being isolated away from their friends and families," said Andy Mok, a fellow at the Center for China and Globalization, a public policy think tank based in Beijing."China's response to the outbreak was truly a nationwide response: systematic, comprehensive and coordinated," he said.

Start the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.

COVID-19 misinformation: Facebook combats misinformation with facts from health experts at top of news feeds

Too often we pass along the misinformation we pick up, unwittingly exposing our loved ones to a flood of conspiracy theories, hoaxes and falsehoods that could mislead or even harm them.

So much misinformation is being transmitted from person to person that the scale is unprecedented, public health experts say. Unlike localized disasters such as hurricanes or mass shootings, the coronavirus outbreak is dominating the public conversation on every single social media platform.

Iceland has tested more of its population for coronavirus than anywhere else. Here's what it learned

  Iceland has tested more of its population for coronavirus than anywhere else. Here's what it learned No country or scientist or doctor has all the answers about the COVID-19 pandemic that has swept the globe. Tiny Iceland may have more than most.No country or scientist or doctor has all the answers about the pandemic that has swept the globe, infecting more than 1.6 million people and killing at least 95,000.

COVID-19 is the world's first social media pandemic

“This is our first social media pandemic,” says Carl Bergstrom, a professor of biology at the University of Washington who researches disinformation. “This is the first time we’ve had a pandemic where the population is relying heavily on social media for information.”

Shelter-in-place orders and other restrictions on our daily lives have only exacerbated the spread of misinformation, public health experts warn.

Hunkered down in their homes and isolated from their jobs and communities, people are connecting with friends and family on social media as they search for answers in a rapidly-evolving global public health crisis.

What they encounter instead: profiteers hawking “cures,” cyber thieves trying to steal their personal information, ideologues who distrust science or troublemakers intent on sowing confusion and distrust.

Study of Trump-touted chloroquine for coronavirus stopped due to heart problems, deaths

  Study of Trump-touted chloroquine for coronavirus stopped due to heart problems, deaths Brazilian doctors stopped a test of chloroquine, a drug President Trump has promoted, after only six days because it was causing heart problems.A double-blind research study of a drug touted by President Donald Trump early on to treat coronavirus found it to be so dangerous at high doses the trial was shut down after six days.

“There's a high degree of uncertainty and obviously a lot of fear and that creates a kind of perfect storm,"  says Peter Adams, senior vice president of education at the News Literacy Project. "Really well-intentioned people are trying to make sense of this and help friends and family to the greatest degree possible so they just sort of share everything they see and that turns into this over abundance of information, a lot of which isn’t true.”

Coronavirus malware: Fake and malicious coronavirus mobile tracking apps could spread amid pandemic

The World Health Organization was so alarmed that, in February, it warned of a massive “infodemic," shorthand for information epidemic, "an overabundance of information — some accurate and some not — that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it.”

The 'life-and-death consequences' of misinformation during coronavirus

“This is a moment where misinformation can have real consequences, beyond what we have seen in elections,” says Dhavan Shah, the Louis A. & Mary E. Maier-Bascom professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, director of the university’s Mass Communication Research Center and scientific director of the Center for Health Enhancement System Studies. “This is a moment where misinformation can have life-and-death consequences.”

Coronavirus live updates: Pandemic could last 2 years, report says; some state lockdowns wind down; Trump pushes China virus theory

  Coronavirus live updates: Pandemic could last 2 years, report says; some state lockdowns wind down; Trump pushes China virus theory President Trump pushes theory that the virus came from a Wuhan lab. Airlines are requiring passengers to wear masks. More COVID-19 news Friday.Meanwhile, President Donald Trump is scheduled to leave the White House on Friday for the first time in a month to travel to Camp David, one day after the expiration of federal social distancing guidelines.

Kathleen M. Carley, who directs Carnegie Mellon's Center for Computation Analysis of Social and Organizational Systems, has been researching the spread of coronavirus misinformation since January. She has identified three types of misinformation so far:

  • Fake cures or preventative measures such as taking colloidal silver, steroids, acetic acid, essential oils and cocaine; gargling with salt water; spraying chlorine on your body and avoiding ice cream.
  • False information about the nature of the virus such as COVID-19 is just a cold or a normal flu and children cannot catch it.
  • Conspiracy theories such as COVID-19 was bioengineered by a Russian bioweapons lab or was caused when an infected rat bit a student in a bioweapons lab in China.

Carley expects new sorts of misinformation to emerge around topics like coronavirus testing " to incite panic and sow confusion.”

Who's fighting back against coronavirus misinformation?

Groups like Carley’s are analyzing the waves of misinformation and informing the public. Fact-checking groups are debunking fake coronavirus cures, false news reports and conspiracy theories.

The WHO is working with Facebook, Twitter and other platforms to crack down on coronavirus misinformation. Influencers on Facebook-owned Instagram and Google-owned YouTube are being drafted to spread accurate news about the virus.

Coronavirus live updates: Senate reconvenes; J.Crew files for bankruptcy; Pence regrets not wearing mask

  Coronavirus live updates: Senate reconvenes; J.Crew files for bankruptcy; Pence regrets not wearing mask The Senate reconvenes as more states across the country reopen their economies. A new report says China hid the outbreak's severity.

Fact check: Does using ibuprofen when you have coronavirus make symptoms worse?

On Monday, Facebook joined seven other platforms – Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Reddit, YouTube and Microsoft's LinkedIn – in pledging to crack down on coronavirus misinformation as a direct threat to public welfare. And CEO Mark Zuckerberg told reporters Wednesday that Facebook is launching an information hub that will appear at the top of everyone’s news feeds to counteract misinformation with facts about COVID-19.

Also on Wednesday, Facebook-owned WhatsApp announced it would give $1 million to support the International Fact-Checking Network in its fight against COVID-19 misinformation.

“The top priority and focus for us has been making sure people can get access to good authoritative information from trusted health sources,” Zuckerberg said.

So, how can you practice better information hygiene? Here are some tips:

Arm yourself with the facts

We are all susceptible to misinformation. As the saying goes, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes.” The peddlers pushing false or misleading content prey on our biases and our behavior, especially in a crisis.

a close up of Mark Zuckerberg looking at the camera: “The top priority and focus for us has been making sure people can get access to good authoritative information from trusted health sources,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said. © MANDEL NGAN, AFP via Getty Images “The top priority and focus for us has been making sure people can get access to good authoritative information from trusted health sources,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said.

“As people turn from traditional media sources, governmental agencies, NGOs to whatever is flying around this hour on social media, we feel like we are getting better and better information because it’s more recent, but we are actually getting much worse information because it hasn’t been adequately vetted,” Bergstrom says. “The hunger for knowing what’s happening up to the minute is driving people into the arms of people who are spreading rumors and disinformation on the internet.”

Growing number of students suing colleges that moved classes online amid pandemic

  Growing number of students suing colleges that moved classes online amid pandemic An Indiana University student is suing the school, looking for a partial reimbursement on tuition and fees paid for the spring semester.Democratic state Sen. Jamescita Peshlakai wears a mask as she tells member how the coronavirus has devastated the Navajo Nation while urging members to approve a move to end the legislative session at the state Capitol in Phoenix, on May 8. The Senate by a 24-6 vote approved a move to adjourn pending approval by the House.

Turn instead to public health officials such as The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization for information on the virus. What are the symptoms? How does it spread? The more information you know, the easier it will be to identify misinformation.

Treat anything not clearly attributed and linked back to one of those organizations with suspicion. “Above all else, what we are really urging people to do is consider the source,” Adams says.

Take 20 seconds to research before sharing

Just like washing your hands for 20 seconds, take 20 seconds to research each piece of information you come across before passing it on.

“You can do a lot in 20 seconds when you encounter something in a social media feed,” Adams says. “Check the comments to see if anyone has posted a link to a fact check of the claim or open a new tab and do a quick Google search for the claim ‘does garlic help prevent coronavirus’ and you will quickly turn up fact checks from credible fact-checking organizations.”

Do not spread misinformation about prevention or cures

Bogus tips on how to prevent or cure coronavirus are blazing across social media. Some tips are harmless, like eating raw garlic to prevent infection. Others are dangerous and potentially life-threatening. You can debunk these tips by checking with the CDC or WHO. Don't share posts that could physically harm others.

Beware posts that traffic in fear

Research social media posts and messages that deliberately incite fear, strain credulity or are just too reassuring or comforting to be true. Ask yourself: Why is someone trying to make me feel this way?

Don't trust everything you see

We instinctively trust images and video, but they can be taken out of context, edited or digitally manipulated to mislead us. So check with trusted sources of information such as health experts. Or do a Google search or a Google image search to research if images and videos have been manipulated.

US man posing as janitor caught sneaking into Germany to visit girlfriend, authorities say

  US man posing as janitor caught sneaking into Germany to visit girlfriend, authorities say A 20-year-old U.S. man was deported from Germany after trying to sneak into the country disguised as a janitor to see his girlfriend, authorities say.The incident, which occurred on May 10, began when the man flew from Washington, D.C. to Frankfurt Airport to meet his Germany-based girlfriend, German Federal Police told USA TODAY Thursday. The man's identity was not disclosed due to data and privacy concerns, a police spokesman confirmed.

Don't join the crowd

Misinformation needs a crowd, the bigger the better. Sure, Kremlin-linked operatives produce shady content. Bots pepper social media with automated posts. But effective misinformation campaigns thrive by recruiting unsuspecting members of the public who don’t realize they are amplifying and legitimizing falsehoods or posts seeking to inflame tensions or disrupt American life. Cross check information with the CDC or WHO before sharing it with others.

News to stay informed. Advice to stay safe.
Click here for complete coronavirus coverage from Microsoft News


Keep partisan politics out of it

We live in a deeply partisan world with bitter divisions between the political right and left, especially in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election. Be wary of efforts to downplay or exaggerate the threat of the coronavirus to attack one side or the other.

Uncertainty sucks, get used to it

Scientists are learning more each day about the virus and its spread, but it may take weeks, possibly months, for them to responsibly answer all of our questions. Don’t fill the vacuum with unreliable information, Bergstrom advises.

“My hope is as this progresses, people will realize, ‘Boy, I get burned every time I follow some credible-seeming anonymous thread on the internet, but when I read an article in USA TODAY, I haven’t been burned yet," he said. "I hope that people would eventually start to figure that out."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Welcome to the first social media pandemic. Here are 8 ways you can stop the spread of coronavirus misinformation.

Provided by photo services

US man posing as janitor caught sneaking into Germany to visit girlfriend, authorities say .
A 20-year-old U.S. man was deported from Germany after trying to sneak into the country disguised as a janitor to see his girlfriend, authorities say.The incident, which occurred on May 10, began when the man flew from Washington, D.C. to Frankfurt Airport to meet his Germany-based girlfriend, German Federal Police told USA TODAY Thursday. The man's identity was not disclosed due to data and privacy concerns, a police spokesman confirmed.

Topical videos:

usr: 3
This is interesting!