Rumors and Misinformation

This is a curated collection of tools and materials that can guide and provide examples on how to understand, track, address rumors and misinformation around COVID-19.

January 4, 2021

Call for Action: Managing the Infodemic


Deeply concerned with the undermining consequences of the current infodemic to the COVID-19 response and acknowledging the great potential for improved risk communication through new tools, the WHO has called on key stakeholders and the global community to commit to undertaking the actions in this article.

December 3, 2020

Real-time Rumor Tracking for COVID-19 – System Design and Implementation Guide

Guidance Document

This document is written for humanitarian or public health organizations as well as national governments seeking to document rumors in a systematic and dynamic fashion. First, the document provides an overview of the role of rumors in a public health or humanitarian emergency, followed by a summary of the community-based approach taken by Breakthrough ACTION during the COVID-19 pandemic.

November 16, 2020

Readability of Online COVID-19 Health Information: A Comparison between Four English Speaking Countries

PrintReports and Studies

The general public is faced with a plethora of misinformation regarding COVID-19 and the readability of online information has an impact on their understanding of the disease.

The accessibility of online healthcare information relating to COVID-19 is unknown. The authors ought to evaluate the readability of online information relating to COVID-19 in four English speaking regions: Ireland, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States, and compare readability of website source provenance and regional origin.

Seoul Declaration on Media and Information Literacy for Everyone and by Everyone

Guidance DocumentPrint

On the 10th anniversary of Global Media and Information Literacy Week, stakeholders from all over the world gave a resounding affirmation as to the urgency to strengthen people’s media and information literacy competencies.

The outcomes of the deliberations in the Feature Conference and Youth Agenda Forum have been immortalized in the Seoul Declaration on Media and Information Literacy for Everyone and by Everyone: A Defence against Disinfodemics. This Seoul Declaration benefited from a consultation with close to one thousand registered participants.

October 23, 2020

Nalamdana: Fighting COVID-19 Misinformation

SBC MaterialsVideo

This illustration-based video share the challenges of listening to misinformation – it can lead to risk of getting COVID-19. Friends gather (distanced and masked) around a tea shop and discuss what happened to an acquaintance who refused to listen to prevention messages and believed in quack methods to keep COVID-away.

October 9, 2020

Running after Myths and Rumors

SBC MaterialsVideo

This video was shared on Facebook. It discourages listening to myths and rumors such as those that claim that antibiotics or eating garlic can cure coronavirus. It is important not to listen to rumors, but to get correct information from reliable sources.

October 8, 2020

Why Misinformation about COVID-19’s Origins Keeps Going Viral


This report states that pre-reviewed articles and other types of COVID-19 misinformation have gained traction on social media because they take advantage of vulnerable human emotions. Those feelings can drive the viral spread of hoaxes.

September 24, 2020

Eswatini COVID-19 Mythbusters

PrintSBC Materials

The ten mythbusters, available in English and Siswati, were developed based on feedback received from chiefdom leadership who identified prevailing myths and misconceptions related to COVID-19 prevention, treatment or stigma related to recovery.

September 2, 2020

Who to Trust and How to Overcome COVID-19 Misinformation in Nigeria


In Nigeria, as in many countries, social media has allowed anyone to post COVID-19 misinformation as truth and fact, while misleading the public and, in some cases, causing real damage. This article reviews some of the major misinformation events in Nigeria during the pandemic and notes the steps being taken to correct that situation.

August 31, 2020

COVID-19–Related Infodemic and Its Impact on Public Health: A Global Social Media Analysis


The authors of this article followed and examined COVID-19–related rumors, stigma, and conspiracy theories circulating on online platforms, including fact-checking agency websites, Facebook, Twitter, and online newspapers, and their impacts on public health.

How to Report Misinformation Online

ToolsWeb Resource

As the world responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, we all face the challenge of an overabundance of information related to the virus. Some of this information may be false and potentially harmful. Inaccurate information spreads widely and at speed, making it more difficult for the public to identify verified facts and advice from trusted sources, such as their local health authority or WHO. However, everyone can help to stop the spread. If you see content online that you believe to be false or misleading, you can report it to the hosting social media platform.

Immunizing the Public against Misinformation


Proliferating misinformation — even when the content is, in a best-case scenario, harmless — can have serious and even social and lethal health ramifications in the context of a global pandemic. In some countries, rumours about impending food scarcity prompted people to stockpile supplies early on in the epidemic and caused actual shortages.

Teaching Senior Citizens to Spot Misinformation


This article explains that COVID-19 has made the topic of misinformation timely and urgent. Discerning reliable health information is especially a matter of life or death for older people who are more vulnerable to the virus, and showcases projects created to ameliorate the situation.

July 29, 2020

COVID-19 PSAs Zambia: Correct Information

SBC MaterialsVideo

This is a COVID-19 mini-series aimed at informing and engaging Zambian audiences about symptoms, preventive actions and the importance of verified information during the pandemic. As four strangers wait to board a bus, they discuss COVID-19 facts and fiction, and what role religion, social media and correct information has to play.

July 21, 2020

An Exploration of How Fake News is Taking over Social Media and Putting Public Health at Risk


This article reports on a small study which concludes that the COVID‐19 infodemic is full of false claims, misinformation, half backed conspiracy theories and pseudoscientific therapies, regarding the diagnosis, treatment, prevention, origin and spread of the virus. Fake news is pervasive in social media, putting public health at risk.

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