5G mobile network is propagating the coronavirus; drinking alcohol can reduce the vulnerability of the being sick (just because it is used in hand sanitizers), hot weather stops the infection, Chloroquine ( a drug used for Malaria cure) can cure coronavirus. These are just some of the pieces of misinformation which spread panic and confusion among the masses. This infodemic in coronavirus crisis is putting the people at the brink of destruction as they are completely out of course.
Infodemic, as the name suggests is the excessive amount of information about the problem such that the solution is made more difficult, is the prevailing danger of the time.
As the countries along the globe continue to report coronavirus cases, distinguishing between real and fake news becomes a reasonable worry of the masses.
What to trust and what not to remains an unanswered question as the global citizens go into panic amid lockdown. Infodemic is such a curse that it can create a panic among the masses. People start to get confused about the authenticity of the news, and at times they leave the real solution and adapt the fake one.
Some religious hardliners are exploiting the situation to get monetary benefits. For instance, right-wingers in India emphasized that Cows’ urine is a cure to corona, similarly, Pakistan’s well-known scholar Zameer Akhtar Naqvi claimed that he had the solution for corona but refused to tell citing the reason of non-seriousness of the people.
The popular and well-trusted personalities are also not hesitating to play their part in this infodemic. While Donald Trump stressed earlier that Chloroquine is the cure of the virus, he recently suggested that heat, humidity, and injecting disinfectants can help in tackling the crisis. Many experts around the globe lashed out on him as they said that any such attempt could cost lives.
Meanwhile, Secretary-general of the United Nations Antonio Guterres also emphasized on the said topic.
Our common enemy is #COVID19, but our enemy is also an “infodemic” of misinformation.
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) March 28, 2020
What makes people claim that they have the solution to the problem when they know little about the problem itself?
Well, the simple answer to this question is an attention-seeking syndrome. But this theory can explain the behavior of some random religious cleric but cannot describe the actions of the likes of the president of the USA.
Not only do the religious and political hardliners propagate this infodemic in coronavirus, but many online businesses are also mitigating fake online cures for coronavirus. Cybercriminals are attacking the hospitals to get critical information to sell it for some pennies is the one classical example of how low a human being can go to get monetary benefit.
Not only the UN chief, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also stressed on the said issue and said, “We’re not just fighting an epidemic; we’re fighting an infodemic,” in a meeting in Munich Germany in Mid February. He further added that “fake news spread more easily and faster than the virus.”
United Nations has launched an excellent platform to tackle this infodemic in coronavirus pandemic. The team of Mythbusters is working with technological giants like Facebook, Google, YouTube, TikTok, Twitter to contain fake news as much as possible.
Meanwhile Neil Walsh, Chief, Cybercrime, and Anti-Money Laundering Section, at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), also stressed that lockdowns have made many people vulnerable to cyber attacks. As more and more people are taking online classes, they can be at risk to get exposure to cybercrimes. He further emphasized that Kids are most vulnerable as they often fail to distinguish between real and fake things. Phishing emails and fake links, claiming the cure of corona, must not be followed at any cost, said the chief.
Perhaps the only solution which seems possible is to get new from authentic sources, like the UN, and try not to panic as panic attacks can push the world into chaos.