How to avoid fake news during the coronavirus lockdown

The coronavirus crisis that we’re currently living through has brought with it many challenges, from the sheer scale of the required medical response to the changes to everyday working routines. But one additional problem that is making matters worse is the spread of misinformation and fake news online.

Unfortunately, soon after the first impacts of the coronavirus were being felt, misleading advice and completely fake stories – relating to the virus’ origin, how to treat it or many other related issues – began to spread like wildfire over social media and messaging apps.

In a situation like this, it’s vitally important to only trust news and advice from official sources. Wherever you live, the first place you should look is official government or health authority websites, which will give you relevant and tailored information for where you live. There may also be official government phone lines to call.

Do not assume that anything sent to you via a messaging app or social media site is true, simply because a friend has shared it, or because it claims to be from an official source. Fake news is started for a variety of reasons – from political or commercial gain, to cybercrime or pushing outlandish conspiracy theories. In the current crisis, misinformation like this could also cost people their lives. Be alert to potentially fake stories, as that in itself could prove crucial.

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