Access to reliable information about Covid-19 is vitally important for all citizens. Many citizens use social media to stay informed, also about the Covd-19; but fake news is jeopardising their access to reliable information.
Fake news about health information has been spread from time immemorial. The prominent virologist Ab Osterhaus once replied to a question from a journalist about whether conspiracy theorists were a new phenomenon or whether at the time of the Mexican flu epidemic people were also afraid that Bill Gates was implanting them with nanochips via the vaccine: “As far as vaccinations are concerned, these conspiracy theories go all the way back to the 18th century, when the British physician Edward Jenner invented the first vaccine (against smallpox). The cartoons from that era are fantastic and show Jenner vaccinating someone, while surrounded by all kinds of vaccinated people who have grown cow’s ears and cow’s legs.”
The toolkit is not only intended for use by government institutions but also senior citizen organisations, the RIVM National Institute for Public Health in the Netherlands, the Robert Koch Institute in Germany, the Johns Hopkins University in Washington, the WHO, hospitals and patient organisations, and by citizens who want to know how to guard against Covid-19 fake news.
The WHO, Ministries of Health, Ministries of Education can use the toolkit to combat Covid-19 fake news on behalf of citizens in the broadest sense of the word through the implementation of ➡️ legal, educational and technological measures.
Primary and secondary schools and universities can reach young people, and senior citizen associations older people by providing training and tips on their websites to teach their audiences how to recognise reliable online Covid-19 information.
The same goes for patient organisations and hospitals in regard to patients: Patient portals offer an excellent means through which to draw patients’ attention to inaccurate online Covid-19 information and to point them toward information they can trust and rely on.
The information in this toolkit can obviously also be used to provide tips to the general public on Covid-19 dashboards, websites and patient portals, as well as to specific target groups such as old people, young people and patients. In this way, they can learn to recognise reliable digital information about the Covid-19: information they can use to prevent or to recover from an infection with the coronavirus.
A collaboration with the fact checkers from Leiden University (https://nieuwscheckers.nl/) and Fact- Checking – Duke Reporters’ Lab (reporterslab.org) could be considered ➡️ see more at the educational measures in this toolkit.