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US Battles Covid-19 'Infodemic'

July 16, 2021

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What Happened?


COVID-19 vaccination rates in the US are slowing significantly, and healthcare leaders believe misinformation is largely to blame.

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On Thursday, July 15th, the US Surgeon General released a 22-page advisory which outlined the impact of misinformation on public safety. The advisory asked tech companies, journalists, and everyday Americans to help squash bogus claims to encourage more individuals to follow public health advice.

 

How Does This Affect You?


Disinformation (which is engineered to deliberately deceive) and misinformation (false information that is not necessarily spread with malicious intent) is widely prevalent online. Publicly available information (PAI) is crucial for tracking disinformation campaigns so governments can mitigate their impact and keep the public safer and more informed. This is crucial when mis- and disinformation has serious national security ramifications, such as providing false information about COVID-19.

 

How Can You Stay Informed?

 

OSINT tools and web monitoring software like Echosec Systems are useful for separating fact from fiction. Accessing information from multiple sources within a single platform helps your organization verify the who, what, when, where, and why of a story. To avoid falling for or spreading misinformation, you can also:

• Read the article instead of just the headline before trusting it or sharing it.
• Always consider and double-check the source and web address.
• If something sounds unbelievable and/or premature, search to see if it has been reported elsewhere.
• Make good use of trusted and reliable online tools and resources.
• Be mindful of confirmation bias so that it doesn’t influence your better judgment.

 

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