WHO director general warns against COVID-19 online misinformation
Shady Salah – Media in Toronto
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday warned that Covid-19 misinformation spreads significantly quicker than truth online – and is 70 percent more likely to be shared on some social platforms.
Tedros made the remarks at the 32,000-attendee Collision from Home, produced by the team behind Web Summit – the world’s largest tech conference. He spoke of WHO’s partnerships with major tech companies to combat the spread of misinformation, something he said is “key” to fighting “the infodemic of misinformation and falsehoods”.
“Misinformation travels further, faster and sometimes deeper than the truth. On some social media platforms, falsehoods are 70 percent more likely to be shared than accurate news. To counter this, we have set up systems with digital firms to remain one step ahead.
“For example the WHO Health Alert chatbot was launched in March, providing up to 2 billion people with accurate and lifesaving information in over 40 languages via WhatsApp, Facebook, Messenger, Viber and others,” Tedros, adding that these initiatives are most critical in “fragile states” with health services under increasing strain.