Misinformation (false or inaccurate information) has always existed. As COVID-19 cases have emerged across the world, so has misinformation become more widespread than ever in the past two months.
Why is there so much misinformation during COVID-19?
During this special time, people are feeling confused, helpless, anxious, insecure and scared. These are all normal feelings. As a result, we are less likely to think critically. You often find yourself wondering whether a piece of news you saw was true — please know that you’re not alone.
What do some people share misinformation?
To put it simply, because knowledge is power. The belief of owning “forbidden knowledge” offers feelings of control and certainty during a crisis like COVID-19. “Sharing” that “knowledge” gives people a false sense of power and certainty.
How to avoid misinformation?
– Get information from reliable sources only, including the Canadian government, the Alberta government, the municipal government of Calgary, and recognized health organizations, such as World Health Organization, Doctors Without Borders, Healthy Canadians, Canadian Medical Association, etc.
– Taking a moment, pause and ask yourself if the news is accurate. Check the source, the author and the content. Here is a detailed step-by-step guide on how to examine news.
How to discourage the spread of false information?
– Think twice before clicking “Share” on social media. Report false information when you see it.
– If a well-meaning family member shares false information, be empathetic, try to understand their feelings and perspectives. Gently correct the person and share reliable sources of news. Don’t be cruel when you respond.