We’re not just fighting an epidemic; we’re fighting an infodemic
As the Covid-19 outbreak gains scale, the fake news pandemic is growing as well
In this unprecedented and unusual situation, the world outside has come to a halt
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While some say that an alcohol bath might kill the virus, others are confident that it’s symptoms are just like the regular flu. As the Covid-19 outbreak gains scale, the fake news pandemic is growing as well. Amid the existing confusion regarding the virus, such misinformation only adds to the fear and uncertainty.
In February 2020, World Health Organization Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, rightly said, “We’re not just fighting an epidemic; we’re fighting an infodemic.” Today, platforms such as Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, etc, are flooded with fake news around the origin, cure, and prevention of Covid-19. Since this misinformation is being floated in multiple local languages across formats such as photos, videos, audio and text, people across the country are falling prey to these half-truths.
That the Cyber Crime Portal of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) recently notified leading social media platforms about 5 unverified messages around the pandemic that must not be circulated, is enough to gauge the rise of of the infodemic in India.
Fortunately, the experts and frontline warriors – our country’s doctors–are already on top of the situation.
Doctors Busting Myths Through Vlogs
As the perpetrators of fake news are present across social media platforms, Indian doctors have also taken to these channels in a bid to educate the masses around the pandemic. When there is a painful lack of verified information in regional languages, leading doctors across numerous geographies are using Vlogs or Video blogs to reach out to local language-speaking audiences.
Several local language content companies are taking steps to raise awareness about the novel coronavirus. However, utilizing the knowledge and trust factor possessed by medical practitioners is the best way to assuage public fear and infuse facts into the everyday dialogue around the pandemic.
Moreover, Vlogs are engaging and easy to grasp for audiences who may not be adept at reading vernacular languages. Thus, in the fight against news that is not based on science, Vlogs can and will prevail.
What Do These Vlogs Cover?
As trusted key opinion leaders (KOLs), doctors are leveraging regional videos to reach the masses cover a diverse set of topics related to the Covid-19 crisis. These include the origin and symptoms of the pandemic, how to inhibit its spread, the precautions required to stay safe, the meaning and need for social distancing, and finally, what to do if you feel that you are infected. These experts are taking extra measures to undo all the damage done by fake news over the past few weeks.
On their part, platforms that support and share these Vlogs are ensuring a steady supply of verified information from certified health experts. Such platforms are continuously onboarding more doctors who are willing to share their genuine insights with the public in numerous languages. These platforms also give experts ‘verified’ badges to help people understand that they are trustworthy.
In this unprecedented and unusual situation, the world outside has come to a halt. While we’re at home in isolation, it is very easy to believe anything that we read. Therefore, even the disinformation, however well-intentioned it might be, starts weighing down on us. In such a scenario, verified facts from medical practitioners who are at the forefront of this fight against Covid-19, are the need of the hour.
In doing so, doctors, in tandem with Vlogging platforms, are ensuring that the myths are separated from the facts and ultimately, truth and good health prevail.