Coping with fake outbreak news

THE coronavirus pandemic is leading to aninformation overload for many people, oftenmaking it diffi cult to separate fact from fi ction, orrumor from deliberate efforts to mislead.

There are social media posts telling people thatone way to get tested for the virus is by donating blood,warning that mosquitoes can carry it or to prevent it byeating bananas.

All are untrue. Such falsehoods can endangerpublic health, sow confusion and fear, and preventimportant information from reaching people during a

There are ways to separate fact from misinformation. First, look for and go straight to thesource. We are more likely to believe things our friendstell us, but that is why rumours spread.

Be wary of important-sounding information that isnot coming from a clear, authoritative source, such aslocal government agencies and health departments, ornational and international public health institutes like theWHO (世衛) or the CDC (美國疾控中心) in the US.

Try to confi rm information from multiple sources,like journalists. Even if a news outlet is at fi rst alone inreporting a big development, others will soon follow. Ifthis does not happen, it could be a red flag.

Do not believe everything you see. Bad actorsand trolls exploit people’s fears by using a variety oftechniques to sow confusion.

Photos and videos can be edited and altered, andreal images can be presented out of context.


(This article is published on Junior Standard on 4 Jun 2020)