April 11, 2021

One Year at the Center of the Infodemic

As governments combat the COVID-19 pandemic, Snopes is fighting an “infodemic” of reports and false information, and you can help. End Up Being a Founding Member to assist us employ more fact-checkers.

Dive to see each area:

How We Can Help Each Other

For more than a year, weve been experiencing 2 pandemics– COVID-19, the disease wrecking the world, and the infodemic of rumors, scams, and harmful disinformation surrounding it.

Snopes has been at the center of the latter. Desperate for details about a frightening, fatal plague, readers grabbed any details they might and asked us to examine. And we did.

One year on, were all set to share what weve learned about the infodemic– the year misinformation swallowed the world

While were grateful for the help, well still be here for you, fighting the excellent fight.

By David Mikkelson.

, and conspiracy theories positing that everyone from Israel to President George W. Bush was actually behind the attacks (we know who * truly * did it!). All of these reports supplied readers with some sense of control in the disorderly after-effects of 9/11 … and all of them were 100% incorrect.

As Americans took in the shock and scary of the terrorist attacks that damaged the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, some of them required to the internet (then still a new phenomenon to lots of people) to reveal among the most common feelings individuals feel in such minutes: a desire to apply some sensation of control over a world relatively freaked.

The attacks were a turning point in the history of Snopes.com. Online fact-checking wasnt yet a thing, and the traditional news media hadnt started paying much attention to the web as a phenomenon unto itself– leaving us virtually alone as the one outfit devoted to cataloging and examining the myriad of rumors swirling around the online world about the destructive event. When it was difficult to understand what to do or think, millions of readers in the U.S. and in other places started turning to us for peace of mind and knowledge at a time.

Humanity may not have changed much in the 20 years in between 9/11 and COVID-19, but the online information landscape definitely did. In 2001, much errant information was spread out by mistaken however well-meaning members of the public; by 2020, foreign stars seeking to interfere with other countries, profiteers, and political partisans were all part of the mix of those who had vested interests in promoting COVID-related disinformation. Although in 2001 few online resources (exterior of Snopes.com) existed to fight this assault of “fake news,” by two decades later lots of more entities had actually sprung up to help wage the fight.

.

A Turning Point in Online Misinformation.

We saw a comparable cycle of (mis) info overload play out as the COVID-19 pandemic established in early 2020. Social network users shared messages and memes holding that the coronavirus disease was a hoax, conspiracy theories asserting it was intentionally produced (by China, or Dr. Anthony Fauci, or Bill Gates), promos of suspicious and unproven treatments, and claims that face masks were unhelpful in preventing spread of the illness and even harmful to wearers.

Back to top

.

The Pandemic, in Fact Checks.

By Jessica LeeBack to top

How to Inoculate Yourself Against Misinformation.

Keep yourself as much as date. Guidance for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic has actually changed a couple of times over the last year as health specialists find out more about the virus. Watch on the CDC or WHO for the current, most updated information.

.

Be weary of psychological posts. Viral false information is frequently created to get an emotional response from the audience. Be on alert for emotional language in posts.

Do not mistake anecdotes for proof. Anti-Vax arguments frequently hinge on anecdotes. While these stories might be real, they often represent outliers to the scientific information.

Reading headlines is inadequate. Headings often provide readers an intriguing (but not necessarily sincere) glimpse of a news product. Make certain to read the short article to see if the heading matches with the reporting.

By Dan EvonWhile the Snopes team will always be here to help you arrange truth from fiction, its always valuable to have a couple of suggestions to sort out some apparent misinformation for yourself. Here are a couple of suggestions to figure out rumors:.

Trace your information back to its source. Where is this info originating from? If you see something youre not sure of, see if you can trace this info back to a reputable source.

Back to top

At Snopes, we rely on concerns submitted by our readers to identify what to cover. In mid-March 2020, we suddenly received a deluge of questions about COVID-19. We marked them in our system to keep track of pandemic-related queries– and, when seen as an entire, they reveal the shape of the infodemic.

The Pandemic, in Questions.

.

Back to top

.

Suggestions for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic has changed a few times over the last year as health specialists discover more about the infection.

Heres how we can combat the infodemic together:.

Although in 2001 couple of online resources (outside of Snopes.com) existed to combat this attack of “phony news,” by 2 years later many more entities had sprung up to assist wage the fight.

Back to top.

COVID-19 will disappear some day– but the infodemic is here to remain. Therefore are we.

Vaccine distribution might imply that completion of the COVID-19 pandemic is in sight, but the infodemic rages on. Misinformation about vaccines, the infection origins, and the deadliness of the disease continue to flourish online, but Team Snopes will be here to check it.

How We Can Help Each Other.

As governments battle the COVID-19 pandemic, Snopes is fighting an “infodemic” of reports and misinformation, and you can assist. End Up Being a Founding Member to assist us employ more fact-checkers. How We Can Help Each Other