WHO fights infodemic amid novel coronavirus outbreak

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that it has been working around the clock with Internet and social media giants to tackle misinformation spreading among the public regarding the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned the public of the dangers posed by “the spread of rumors and misinformation” as China’s death toll rises due to the virus.

“We have worked with Google to make sure people searching for the information about coronavirus see WHO information at the top of their search results,” Tedros said in opening remarks to the UN health agency’s Executive Board meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

”Social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Tencent, and TikTok have also taken steps to limit the spread of misinformation,” he said. He coughed in a bit, interrupting his speech but assured that it’s not the virus.

WHO warned on Sunday that the 2019-nCoV outbreak “has been accompanied by a massive ‘infodemic’,” which the organization defined as “an overabundance of information – some accurate and some not – that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it.”

The agency said that they have deployed risk communication and social media teams “working 24 hours a day to identify the most prevalent rumors that can potentially harm the public’s health, such as false prevention measures and cures.”


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