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Impact of Rumors and Misinformation on COVID-19 in Social Media

  • Tasnim, Samia (Department of Health Promotion and Community Health Sciences, Texas A&M School of Public Health, College Station) ;
  • Hossain, Md Mahbub (Department of Health Promotion and Community Health Sciences, Texas A&M School of Public Health, College Station) ;
  • Mazumder, Hoimonty (Save the Children)
  • Received : 2020.03.28
  • Accepted : 2020.04.02
  • Published : 2020.05.29

Abstract

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has not only caused significant challenges for health systems all over the globe but also fueled the surge of numerous rumors, hoaxes, and misinformation, regarding the etiology, outcomes, prevention, and cure of the disease. Such spread of misinformation is masking healthy behaviors and promoting erroneous practices that increase the spread of the virus and ultimately result in poor physical and mental health outcomes among individuals. Myriad incidents of mishaps caused by these rumors have been reported globally. To address this issue, the frontline healthcare providers should be equipped with the most recent research findings and accurate information. The mass media, healthcare organization, community-based organizations, and other important stakeholders should build strategic partnerships and launch common platforms for disseminating authentic public health messages. Also, advanced technologies like natural language processing or data mining approaches should be applied in the detection and removal of online content with no scientific basis from all social media platforms. Furthermore, these practices should be controlled with regulatory and law enforcement measures alongside ensuring telemedicine-based services providing accurate information on COVID-19.

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