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Coronavirus and COVID-19

Information related to coronavirus and COVID-19 as of spring 2020

Misinformation

Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook are full of misinformation about the coronavirus and COVID-19.  The U.S. State Department's Global Engagement Center's head has stated that the "entire ecosystem of Russian disinformation" is pushing fake news related to the virus. Imposter accounts, photoshopped images and videos, and bad advice are all being employed.

Before you share information you find online, do some basic fact checking using the SIFT method:

  1. Stop.  When you feel strong emotion, pause and use your critical thinking skills before acting on the information.
  2. Investigate the source.  Is it one you already know and trust? If not, use Google and Wikipedia to do a quick background check.
  3. Find better coverage.  Cross-check with other news sources. 
  4. Trace claims, quotes and media to the original context.  Check the date and make sure the details aren't being taken out of context.

 

One example of "fake news" found and analyzed by the National Literacy Project:

NO: A man in his early 20s did not escape from a mandatory COVID-19 quarantine on a U.S. military base. NO: The CDC did not run this Facebook ad about this nonexistant "escapee."  YES: This ad (note the word "Sponsored") was purchased by an imposter page.