Coronavirus misinformation plagues WhatsApp users

Coronavirus misinformation plagues WhatsApp users

Infodemic.

The world is in a total panic because of the global pandemic that is the novel coronavirus. Having the right facts are so hard to get nowadays.

It is important to get the right facts and information about Covid-19. Unfortunately, there is another virus that wreaks havoc our virtual users.

On the morning of March 15th, there was an outbreak of a digital virus. An “infodemic”, as some would call it. And one of the most beloved messaging platform – WhatsApp – is plagued with this digital virus.

The worse thing is…

In just an hour, there were already 60 people infected by it.

Read: Covid-19 tracker map allows hackers to infect your PCs

‘Infodemic’ misinformation plagues WhatsApp users

People are always on the lookout for news about the coronavirus. We turn to televisions, radios, the internet, and even our friends and loved ones for news.

Some even turn to informational websites, similar to what Google is working but delayed its launch.

But have you ever wondered where your friends and loved ones get their news from? Is it from the trusted sources or coming from an anonymous one?

Well, if it is from the latter, you might want to assess whether the news is legit or not. Thus, you might not want to believe it right away.

'Infodemic' misinformation plagues WhatsApp users
‘Infodemic’ misinformation plagues WhatsApp users

The World Health Organization (WHO) said that there is an abundance of infodemic of information going around right now. The misinformation is especially playing against the fears of people regarding the coronavirus and its spread across the world.

Various giant tech companies like Facebook and Twitter are now investing heavily regarding the spreading of misleading information. This includes but not limited to denials of expert guidance as well as the encouragement of fake treatment found online.

A Dutch city has been greatly affected by this misinformation

In just an hour, 60 people from a Dutch city of Utrecht have already been infected by this misinformation.

There were messages telling people to drink hot soup in order to stop the virus. Or to test for infection, people can hold their breath for 15 seconds.

These were just some of the messages shared between friends and relatives in a matter of seconds, contradicting medical advice.

A Dutch city has been greatly affected by this misinformation
A Dutch city has been greatly affected by this misinformation

Ivonne Hoek, 63, said she received the message from a friend around 11 AM, who she said was sent by a neighbor who works in a hospital. She then forwarded it to her two children, alarmed.

And around 11:36 AM, her son, Tim, sent the same message to his entire 65-person Frisbee team.

“I probably wouldn’t have paid any attention to this if I’d seen it from a stranger on Facebook. But I trust my mum very much,” 35-year-old told Tim van Caubergh told Reuters.

“I shared it because it came from a trusted source … that is how these things happen.”

Misinformation spreads fast like a virus

With the rapid spread of misinformation, it just goes to show that social media platforms find it hard to police itself.

WhatsApp is now facing this problem where it is harder to stop content that is often thought of factual since it is from a trusted source, especially when it came from friends and family.

WhatsApp has taken a step in ensuring the limit the spread of misinformation in the platform
WhatsApp has taken a step in ensuring the limit the spread of misinformation in the platform

The Facebook-owned platform with WHO and other U.N. agencies to launch a service for sharing official health guidance about the novel coronavirus.

For now, that is the best step to take in order to stop or validate the misinformation which is very troubling and can cause panic and hysteria to the people around the globe.

WhatsApp is now following the steps that Facebook and Twitter are doing in order to limit and even stop the spread of misinformation to its users.

Also read: How To Clean Your Phone And Keep It Coronavirus Free

Stay at home…

Sad to say, everyone in the world is going through this pandemic. The virus is infecting almost everyone that comes its way.

While medical experts are tending to those infected by the virus, citizens are advised to stay at home in order to stop spread it from the vulnerable ones.

Being at home can be boring, but there are these best apps to keep you occupied.

Let us all do our part in the fight against the novel coronavirus.

2 Comments

  1. So people who have nothing money,food,Are told to isolate and starve,Is that your message?Because until people can eat they ain’t staying home,and I don’t blame them.

    1. According to the WHO, staying at home help prevent the further spread of the virus as there will be no interaction with people. There are other companies who have asked their employees to work from home to abide by this health advisory. However, there are others who have to go to work in order to put food on the table. What we are trying to say is that if you have no business of being outside then you might as well stay at home. Keep safe!

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