|Type of paper:||Essay|
|Categories:||Media Public health Social responsibility Covid 19|
The novel coronavirus has emerged as a global threat. Both life and the operations of various sectors such as the economy, are at risk. The coronavirus disease was first identified in Wuhan, China. The virus is linked to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), a family of similar viruses. The virus has spread across the globe and caused many deaths and an impact on daily human life. While the pandemic is a significant threat, misinformation and disinformation have been spread since the onset of COVID-19 disease. Misinformation can be simply defined as giving misleading information while false disinformation information, which is deliberately misleading (Kale & Abeyrathna, 2020). Therefore, disinformation is knowingly spreading misinformation. The paper will focus on the misinformation and the mitigation measures associated with the coronavirus.
Analysis from the BBC monitoring specialist shows that social networks have contributed significantly to passing wrong information to online internet users (Brindha et al., 2020). For instance, the Twitter company has struggled in controlling the flow of misinformation on the platform. In March 2020, the company tightened its policies against the harmful contextualization of the pandemic. Over 1,100, misleading tweets have been eliminated, and 3.4 million accounts were challenged by the manipulation of Coronavirus disease's information (Baines & Elliott, 2020). Besides, the labeling system is similar to the one implemented in Facebook's program for flagging misinformation.
However, the Twitter platform does not utilize the information received from independent fact-checkers to label content (Jaiswal et al., 2020). The challenge of advanced technology is balancing between eliminating harmful information as well as protecting the right to free speech to their users. Such an act is not an easy one to balance because various questions are raised by the members public and politicians if the procedures of solving the problem are subject to accusations that seem to be too severe. There is a low efficiency of eliminating misinformation in social media platforms through the artificial intelligence patrol, unlike using human moderators, who are likely to be more productive.
Mainstream media has also emerged as one of the misinformation sources in the coverage of the problem (Baines & Elliott, 2020). In various major news outlets, editors, and reporters having no training on medical or public health, were deployed to handle a pandemic. Most of them are struggling to understand scientific terminologies, methodologies, and research. As such, the journalist not being knowledgeable can lead to leaning heavily on traditional journalism. Traditional journalism comprises values such as balance, novelty, and conflict. Journalist concern to report critically and authoritatively should be based on science to avoid lifting up outliers and false counterarguments.
It is also essential to understand that the problem of political bias has contributed significantly to misinformation and disinformation (Ricard & Medeiros, 2020). It has been evident from the right-leaning media outlets. For instance, there is a repetition of news angles and views concerning the White House and the president on the pandemic progress. The administration's response about the unproven treatment to COVID-19 and the exaggeration of testing and safety prospects and equipment. The citizen’s behavior will tend to depend on the information received from the government and avoid their consciousness. There is a tendency of people to care less when the government is not putting seriousness in the process of finding a solution. It is now evident that personal responsibility is the critical aspect to consider as the spread of the novel virus continues across the globe (Baines & Elliott, 2020).
The pandemic misinformation has been evident more on the possible treatment. There are various proposed treatments on coronavirus diseases, including the use of antiretroviral medication (ARV) (Baines & Elliott, 2020). The drug which is meant to boost immunity in HIV disease patients is falsely stated to treat COVID-19. Another circulated rumor is the claim of malaria drugs. The rumors claim that malaria drugs such as quinine could heal the novel virus. Everyone has been cautioned to avoid stocking such drugs with the aim to use them as a cure. The WHO has stated that the right information to the people is received from the experts, and no one should spread individual assumptions to others (Jaiswal et al., 2020). Misinformation has made the pandemic more dangerous and the spread of the wrong and false information is spreading on the internet so fast than the diseases itself. According to the director of the World Health Organization Infectious Hazard Management, Sylvie Briand needs the government to tackle the disease in parallel to misinformation about the condition (Jaiswal et al., 2020).
Moreover, misinformation and disinformation are attributed to several factors. For instance, it is likely to affect the social classes differently due to the imitated sources of information (Patel, 2020). The majority of low- and middle-income societies depend on hearsay from privileged individuals who have access to several platforms on the internet. Individuals' sources of information and understanding will then be another factor in passing the information to the third party. Despite the government efforts to create awareness in less privileged societies, many people have not been reached effectively. Also, ignorance has been attributed to misinformation because people do not consider getting the right information as to their role (Patel, 2020).
Lastly, law and punishments should be enacted in every nation to combat the spread of the wrong information. China is now emerging as the top government, which has established a crackdown on those spreading false information (Baines & Elliott, 2020). Citizens were regularly reminded of the laws and readily invoked whenever one is found guilty. Another way to solve this problem is through correction action and advisory. For example, Singapore has produced advisories in news sources to correct misinformation and require the victims to correct their falsehoods online. Social responsibility and education play a crucial role in mitigating the spread of wrong information (Patel, 2020). Everyone in the world should be roped into supporting these social-driven interventions. Individuals should be aware that not all information accessed on the internet is accurate they should be vigilant on their consumption of every information obtained.
Baines, D., Elliott, R.J. (2020). Defining misinformation, disinformation, and misinformation: An urgent need for clarity during the COVID-19 infodemic (No. 20-06).
Brindha, M.D., Jayaseelan, R., Kadeswara, S. (2020). Social media reigned by information or misinformation about COVID-19: a phenomenological study. http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3596058
Corona Virus. Available at SSRN 3600129.
Jaiswal, J., LoSchiavo, C., & Perlman, D. C. (2020). Disinformation, misinformation, and inequality-driven mistrust in the time of COVID-19: Lessons unlearned from AIDS denialism. AIDS and Behavior, 1.
Kale, A., & Abeyrathna, D. (2020). Understanding the propagation of the information, misinformation, and disinformation.
Ricard, J., & Medeiros, J. (2020). Using misinformation as a political weapon: COVID-19 and Bolsonaro in Brazil. The Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review.
Patel, K. (2020). Fake news swamping interpersonal communication in the times of Corona Virus. http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3600129
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