In the era of fake news, and at a time of real concerns around COVID-19, it is understood that the government will respond to the daily spread of unauthorised health claims around Coronavirus by e-launching its “Don’t Feed the Beast” campaign. This is to encourage us all to question what we are reading, and sharing, online. It has put together the SHARE checklist which sets out five steps for identifying inaccurate information.
Search online for “Coronavirus cures” and you will find a myriad of untruths already in circulation. Search again next week and new myths and inaccuracies will be spreading. The unfounded claims seen so far range from the frankly bizarre – that blow drying your face can kill off the virus – to the potentially fatal. For example that Coronavirus is linked to the 5G network. Marina Hyde writing in the Guardian on Saturday 11th April commented:
‘Attempts to defeat it [the virus] have so far seen at least 20 5G towers set fire to around the country, hampering emergency communication and the channels used by critical workers responding to the current crisis. Great job, guys! It’s the equivalent of destroying air-raid sirens during the blitz because you heard they turn you Nazi.’