Fake news and theories are not just political

coronavirus

Work to combat digital disinformation has overly focused on political fakery allowing bogus health and science theories to flourish says a popular journalism blog, Nieman Lab.

This has led to the inevitable disastrous result in 2020 where truth about the COVID-19 pandemic has been pushed aside by wild conspiracy theories.

Also, says Nieman Lab, too much emphasis has been placed on Facebook and Twitter, allowing other platforms to escape the attention they deserve for spreading fake news and theories.

A large part of the blame, it says, lies with “US-based university researchers, media outlets, philanthropic institutions, and Silicon Valley-based platforms, whose obsession with election-related disinformation directed the focus of misinformation initiatives, interventions, and research projects over the past four years”.

Nieman Lab has called for greater attention to science and health, particularly climate and medicine information, when tackling disinformation in 2021 or face further growth in the distrust vulnerable public members feel.

All this starts with three main points it says: better education for journalists about science and research; training for science and health professionals on the information ecosystem; and greater awareness of potential harm this disinformation and resultant distrust poses to diverse cultural communities.

But at Real Press we argue that recent trends in political discourse may well be the root of all disinformation and the toll paid by science and health news might just be collateral damage from this new political normal. What do you think? Read the full article here.