Infodemia on social networks

The coronavirus crisis is accompanied by the spread of information that contradicts official medical advice On Sunday morning, a viral epidemic in the Dutch city of Utrecht infected more than 60 people in less than an hour. Unlike coronavirus, however, this infection occurred on the WhatsApp application.
Messages advising people to eat hot soup to stop the coronavirus or to test themselves by holding their breath for 25 seconds are shared among friends and relatives within minutes, and contradict official medical advice, Reuters writes. Ivon Hoek, 63, received the message about 11 hours from a friend, sent to her by a friend who works at the hospital. She immediately sent it to her children. Her sim team sent her around 11:36 to her entire frisbee team, which consists of 65 members. “I probably wouldn’t pay attention if it was posted by someone unknown on Facebook. But I really trust my mother, “35-year-old Tim van Kober told Reuters. “I shared the news because it came from a reliable source… that’s how it happens.” The coronavirus crisis is accompanied by what the World Health Organization has called an “infodemia” of misinformation. Following Wednesday, following Facebook’s example, Twitter banned the posting of misleading information about the coronavirus. However, the rapid spread of such a message in the Netherlands shows the challenges faced by private chat platforms, such as Facebook’s WhatsApp, where content is harder to control and often seems to come from a trusted source when shared by friends and family. “I think there is a sense of security and togetherness in these chat groups that gives everything that is shared a stamp of authenticity,” said Ana-Sophie Harling, head of Europe at Newzgard, a US-based disinformation monitoring center. “People can send photos, text and voice messages quickly, and it’s all happening privately, so it’s really hard to refute those claims.” Watsap previously limited the number of people to whom users can forward messages after viral rumors on that platform caused a wave of mass beatings and deaths in India in 2018. The app, which has more than two billion users worldwide, has partnered with the WHO and other UN agencies to launch a service to share official guidelines on coronavirus. Watsap chief Will Catcart said the platform also donated $ 1 million to data-checking organizations “to support their rescue work to dispel rumors.” Despite such moves and official warnings, messages encouraging conspiracy theories and sharing fake medical advice continue to spread on the Internet, creating alarm over the alleged dangers of infection via 5G transmitters or eating ice cream. Lisa-Maria Neudert of Oxford University says misinformation could hamper efforts to control the spread of the virus. “From personal experience, I think it has an impact. I know educated people who listen to inaccurate medical advice they have seen on social media and in private messages, ”she said.