Eswatini COVID-19 Mythbusters

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.

Key mythbusters tackle use of alcohol, garlic, hot baths, home remedies, sex, bleach and sanitizer, and hydroxychoroquine, with key facts.  They also address misconceptions that only urban populations or older people are affected and reassure people about recovery.

Source: Eswatini COVID-19 Mythbusters

    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.

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

      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.

      Information was extracted between December 31, 2019 and April 5, 2020, and descriptively analyzed. They performed a content analysis of the news articles to compare and contrast data collected from other sources, and identified 2,311 reports of rumors, stigma, and conspiracy theories in 25 languages from 87 countries. Claims were related to illness, transmission and mortality (24%), control measures (21%), treatment and cure (19%), cause of disease including the origin (15%), violence (1%), and miscellaneous (20%).

      Of the 2,276 reports for which text ratings were available, 1,856 claims were false (82%).

      Misinformation fueled by rumors, stigma, and conspiracy theories can have potentially serious implications on the individual and community if prioritized over evidence-based guidelines. Health agencies must track misinformation associated with the COVID-19 in real time, and engage local communities and government stakeholders to debunk misinformation.

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

        How to Report Misinformation Online

        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.

        This page offers links to various social media platforms’ sites for reporting inappropriate content.

        Source: How to Report Misinformation Online

          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.

          This article is an interview with Tim Nguyen whose team manages the Information Network for Epidemics (EPI-WIN), which is leading WHO work on managing infodemics.

          Source: Immunizing the Public against Misinformation

            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.

            Tips to spot misinformation and avoid sharing it include evaluating whether news is from a known media outlet; noting the publication date, who wrote the content, and whether the author is reputable; checking if a website has a .gov, .edu, .org or .com suffix; and if a website is selling a product.

            Source: Teaching Senior Citizens to Spot Misinformation

              COVID-19 PSAs Zambia: Correct Information

              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.

              Source: COVID-19 PSAs Zambia: Correct Information

                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 attempted to identify the types and sources of COVID‐19 misinformation.

                The authors identified and analysed 1225 pieces of COVID‐19 fake news stories taken from fact‐checkers, myth‐busters and COVID‐19 dashboards.

                The study concludes that the COVID‐19 infodemic is full of false claims, 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. The scale of the crisis and ubiquity of the misleading information require that scientists, health information professionals and journalists exercise their professional responsibility to help the general public identify fake news stories. They should ensure that accurate information is published and disseminated.

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

                  How to Protect Yourself in the Infodemic?

                  Sharing unverified information during the COVID-19 pandemic can be dangerous, unhealthy, and make our life more confusing. UNESCO and the World Health Organization are calling out this Infodemic and calling on you to be on the frontline for truth. It’s easy. Watch the video for the simple actions we can all take on how to identify false information, verify trusted sources, and help ourselves and loved ones to stay safe.

                  Source: How to Protect Yourself in the Infodemic?

                    Fighting an Epidemic of Misinformation: The Importance of Science and Learning in Dealing with Coronavirus

                    This article states that a key part of the problem of coronavirus misinformation is that the public is effectively presented with various sources of information, through different digital media platforms, sometimes from anonymous sources and other times from figures claiming to have some degree of authority or credibility. It can be difficult to discern fact from fiction. And most worryingly this happens with alarming regularity, and spurious claims can gain incredible traction with huge swathes of the public in matter of days, even hours.

                    The upshot is that evidence-based science is more important than ever. In the absence of a vaccine or validated antiviral treatments, information and public health measures are the only tools we have at our disposal to stop transmission of the virus, prevent deaths and keep our health systems running.Online surveys revealed that information overload and conflicting guidance are among the biggest concerns for the public during the current coronavirus outbreak.

                    Source: Fighting an Epidemic of Misinformation: The Importance of Science and Learning in Dealing with Coronavirus