WHO speaks of “infodemic” for coronavirus

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AGiven the growing number of false messages and conspiracy theories, the WHO speaks of an “infodemic” in a report on the coronavirus. The large number of reports makes it difficult for people to distinguish between facts and misinformation. WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned Monday in Geneva about the spread of “rumors” about the corona virus.

Incorrect recommendations on medication or precautionary measures against the virus could be hazardous to health, the director general said at the start of the meeting of the WHO executive council. Organization staff worked 24 hours to locate and address the most common Internet rumors. “It is difficult to recognize fake news,” says Markus Mingers from the Mingers & Kreuzer law firm. The lawyer, who is active in the area of ​​corporate and general civil law, has also dealt with legal questions about fake news.

In view of the flood of information, WHO has launched a large-scale awareness campaign on social networks. This should reliably clarify all open questions, such as whether the acceptance of packages from China is dangerous. The organization also recommends that states prepare for fast, reliable, and transparent communication with the population. WHO is currently working with Google and providers such as Twitter, Facebook, Tencent and Tiktok to combat the spread of fake news.

In addition to misinformation due to incorrect translations, there are numerous cases in which conspiracy theories are deliberately disseminated. Twitter has already started blocking individual accounts due to the spread of false information, including the financial news site Zero Hedge. Rumors were spread there that the corona virus had been developed as a biological weapon. A video surfaced on YouTube last week in which mostly false statements are made. For example, it says: “As early as January 12, doctors recommended closing off the city because the situation was completely out of control.” The fake news video is considered extremely dangerous because it is spreading at high speed via social media.

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