The Coronavirus outbreak has resulted in an over-abundance of information. Stories are coming at us at a rapid pace, from all different directions. This makes it especially difficult to know what is accurate and what is false. Scammers are out there trying to take advantage of this vulnerability and of people’s fears.
Newsguard has identified 100+ websites from the US and many other countries that publish false information, and to make matters worse, these websites are getting a lot traction on social media.
There are three major types of misinformation that we need to aware of:
- False claims about the origin of the disease
- Downplaying the seriousness of the disease
- Phony cures
To be on guard against misinformation, it is always a good idea to examine the source.
- Who wrote the information? What can you find out about the source by googling them?
- What is their motivation? Is their real goal to sell a product, or ads, or to drive internet traffic?
- Do other sources agree with the information?
- How current is the information? Currency is always important, but now, with information changing so rapidly, it’s more important than ever.
To help you even more, here are some reputable websites set up to help combat coronavirus scams and misinformation:
Mythbusters from the World Health Organization
NIH Coronavirus Situation Summary
The MVCC Library is here to help as well. Use our Ask a Librarian page to contact us with whatever questions you might have.