Not much is known yet about educational measures specifically directed at Covid-19 fake news. Fortunately, there are numerous media literacy initiatives relating to fake news in general. To prevent citizens from becoming infected with the virus or from infecting others, it is essential that citizens themselves learn to find reliable information online about Covid-19 and become able to determine the extent to which such information is reliable.

To achieve that goal, it is important for governments to stimulate training programmes aimed at increasing media literacy.


📚 Examples of media literacy practices and trainings offers very useful insights.

👁 See also:

Mapping of media literacy practices and actions in EU-28 van de European Audiovisual Observatory (2016) MAPPING OF MEDIA LITERACY PRACTICES AND ACTIONS IN EU-28 (

Stanford History Education Group. (2016). Evaluating information: The cornerstone of civic online reasoning.  SHEG Evaluating Information Online.pdf (

Wardle, C., & Derakhshan, H. (2017). Information disorder: Toward an interdisciplinary framework for research and policy making. Council of Europe27. PREMS-162317-GBR-2018-Report-desinformation-A4-BAT.pdf (

As yet, no systematic experimental research has been carried out to study the efficacy of the different kinds of media literacy training available. So, do your own test! See below 📚 Media literacy trainings for inspiration …

📚 Media literacy trainings

➡️ Insights, M., & Chapman, M. (2016). Mapping of media literacy practices and actions in EU-28.


➡️ De MediaLit Kit van het CML (Center for Media Literacy) biedt mooie handvatten om mediawijsheid op scholen te bevorderen.

CML MediaLit Kit | Center for Media Literacy | Empowerment through Education | CML MediaLit Kit ™ |

How to Teach Media Literacy | Center for Media Literacy | Empowerment through Education | CML MediaLit Kit ™ |

However useful these insights may be, the traditional media literacy training programmes offered, are as a rule mainly focussed on the transfer of knowledge in a classical school setting and they do not pay attention to emotional aspects in other settings, neither do they use an interactional approach. The role of emotions and an interactional approach in which people themselves take active part tend to be underplayed. Suggestions for alternative media literacy programmes with less of a focus on cognition and more on interaction are therefore provided below.

📚 Fake news games interventions

➡️ Basol, M., Roozenbeek, J., & van der Linden, S. (2020). Good news about bad news: gamified inoculation boosts confidence and cognitive immunity against fake news. Journal of cognition3(1).

➡️ Roozenbeek, J., & van der Linden, S. (2019). Fake news game confers psychological resistance against online misinformation. Palgrave Communications, 5(1), 1-10.

➡️ Roozenbeek, J., & Van Der Linden, S. (2019). The fake news game: actively inoculating against the risk of misinformation. Journal of Risk Research22(5), 570-580.

📚 Fake news sites interventions

➡️ Loos, E.F., Leu, D., Ivan, L. (2018). Save The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus”: a hoax revisited. Or: how vulnerable are school children to Fake News? Information and Learning Science, 119 (9/10),  514-528


“Part of this group is exposed to misinformation 24 hours a day, you really need to put in extra effort.” Field epidemiologist and member of the Red Team Amrish Baidjoe, NOS, 12.08.2021

The Zuyderland hospital in the Netherlands uses a 📚 Fear appeal strategy to try to persuade people who refuse to get vaccinated against Coronavirus to get the vaccine after all by showing a confrontational image (Covid-ravaged lungs).

📚 Fear appeal strategy

For more information about ‘fear appeal’, see:

➡️ Maddux, J. E., & Rogers, R. W. (1983). Protection motivation and self-efficacy: A revised theory of fear appeals and attitude change. Journal of experimental social psychology19(5), 469-479. PII: 0022-1031(83)90023-9 (

Lungs_fear appeal

CT-scan of a 79-year-old patient admitted to the Zuyderland hospital with severe coronavirus disease. The lungs, that normally show up as black on images, look like ground glass: this indicates the presence of fluid and especially inflammation. The lungs are so sick that extra oxygen or mechanical ventilation is needed. The scan has been made available with the consent of the patient. The Limburg hospital has declined to reveal the fate of the patient for reasons of privacy. Image Zuyderland.

➡️ Zuyderland | ‘Het vaccinatie-zwabberbeleid eist zijn tol’: een open brief van Zuyderland – Zuyderland

Vaccinweigeraar met spijt: ‘Mijn ogen zijn geopend. Ik ben gered door het ziekenhuis’ | De Volkskrant

📚 Tips for talking with people who believe in conspiracy theories

  1. Do not label the other person as a ‘crazy’
  2. Ask questions and listen
  3. Build a relationship of trust
  4. Let the other person draw his or her own conclusions
  5. Remember that you don’t know everything, either

Zo voer je een (zinnig) gesprek met een complotdenker in je omgeving | De Volkskrant

Use role models, such as celebrities, who open up about why they chose to get vaccinated.

➡️ Arnold Schwarzenegger Gets Covid-19 Vaccine: ‘Come With Me If You Want to Live’ – YouTube