Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic started, we’ve seen an explosion of fake news on social media. Some reports say that there are over 35,000 scam websites that focus on the coronavirus as their fishing net. Phishing websites try to fool people into clicking links that may harm your digital security. Businesses struggle to give online privacy to clients. Still, not all fake news stories are made to harm people purposely.
Everyone is scared and emotional, and people easily get caught up and start believing stories that have no substance. What’s even worse is that these fake stories are spreading very quickly because everyone is engaged and affected by the pandemic.
Everyone is vulnerable to these false stories. Luckily, even in this time of crisis, there are ways to use common sense and prevent these crazy stories from getting to you.
Your Friends and Family Can Share Fake News Too
Just because you are close to someone doesn’t mean that they are sharing the right information. A lot of the misleading news articles we see today contain a portion of accurate information as well.
That’s why many people find it difficult to distinguish between correct and fake news. Most people don’t share fake news out of malicious intent; they look at the title, read a couple of lines (which are usually correct), and press “share.”
Even if you love and trust someone, you shouldn’t believe the posts they share blindly. Instead, make an effort to read the whole story and point out false information. This tactic will not only help you protect yourself, but you can also help people close to you learn how to combat this surge of incorrect information.
What is the Source of the News?
The source of every story is significant. You need to know where the news is coming from. It’s an excellent idea to check the source before reading an article or viewing a video. Some news platforms will often cite the source at the end or the beginning of the text.
If there is no source, you should not read such an article. If you do find it, make sure to check whether it is reliable. Various blogs and websites publish stories even though they don’t have any inside information about current developments.
They make flashy titles and try to squeeze as many visits as possible by making up or twisting stories related to the coronavirus. In the end, if you see a post or an article, sharing some “groundbreaking” information, or incredible solutions that nobody else has thought of, avoid them by default.
Uncertainty is Our Current Reality
The COVID-19 virus was first identified in early December of 2019. Four months is a short period for proper tests and studies, even with the current tools and scientific innovations. Controlled large-scale trials and peer reviews are necessary to gain a full understanding of the virus.
All of this takes time, and we can’t expect answers anytime soon. Medical experts and scientists across the globe are working tirelessly to learn more about COVID-19. However, any severe news source will stay away from bold statements like “Science says” or “Proof about coronavirus effects.”
When they find something that they are confident about, major health organizations will release statements with their findings to inform the public. That’s why you should always have a healthy dose of skepticism when you come across stories that expose essential discoveries.
Check the World Health Organization’s “Myth Busters” Page
If you are finding it challenging to deal with a vast amount of information, there is a solution for this as well. The World Health Organization (WHO) has opened a Myth busters page about the coronavirus.
This page is separate from the standard guidelines for how to act during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since there is so much misinformation circulating on the web, WHO added this page to dispel any myths.
The page is updated daily, and you can always visit it to verify specific details. Simply put, if you encounter a story that you’re unsure of, compare it with the information offered by WHO to either confirm or dispute some news.
Unfollow Pages/People That Share False News
If you recognize individuals or platforms that are continually sharing misinformation, unfollow them. Sure, it might be fun to argue with people from time to time and try to prove to them that they’re wrong, but in the end, this will only harm you.
We are all human beings, and sometimes it can be difficult to distance yourself from your emotions. Many fake coronavirus stories are designed to appeal to your feelings and suck you in. Such engagement will only make you feel unsafe, paranoid, and anxious, even if you know that the news is fake.
Just get rid of the toxic content on your feed, and you will be fine. Since we are all spending a lot of time on social media during quarantine, being exposed to toxic information can be harmful.
We hope this information helps you combat all the fake news. Also, remember to think twice before sharing something and verify that information with official medical sites. With responsible behavior, you can use social media to combat coronavirus and put a stop to false information.