The fight against fake news
The so-called 'fake news' are false news that circulate mainly on social networks, but also reach the media. This type of content deliberately tries to deceive, confuse, misinform or manipulate the audience, and on many occasions even to discredit specific people or institutions.
The crisis of the coronavirus and its jump into the media spotlight has led to the appearance of numerous hoaxes regarding this phenomenon. We can distinguish several types. Among them:
- In relation to the origin of this disease
- Concerning the mode of transmission or treatments to kill the virus
- Crisis management hoaxes and alarm state restrictions
A study carried out by Eprensa shows that between February and March 2020, just when the health crisis broke out, the daily average of false news was 253, compared to the data for February 2019 and January 2020, when the average was 170 false news items per day (an increase of 33%).
Against this wave of disinformation, official bodies have been quick to set up specific portals to deny this type of content and to collect all the official information in force up to now.
This is the case of the World Health Organization (WHO), which has set up a website that debunks all the myths that have been circulating on social networks in recent weeks.
The Spanish Government has also launched the campaign "Coronavirus, always official sources" alerting the population to go to official sources, and to resort to health professionals and to the indications of the Security Forces and Corps, and urging not to share chains of whatsapp and non-confirmed information.
The European Union (EU), for its part, has set up a website to combat disinformation about the pandemic, offering keys to distinguish between hoaxes or malicious information and truly reliable information.
In addition, other private companies such as WhatsApp, Twitter, and Facebook have published releases about the strategies they have implemented on their platforms to fight this false news worldwide.