The United Nations (UN) has expressed its enormous concern regarding the proliferation of what it says is false information about COVID-19 found on the internet, saying that its spread has been faster and more extensive than that of the virus.
According to the statement released by the UN, erroneous or false information has been spreading alarmingly.
“Misinformation is spreading faster than the virus itself, and is seriously disrupting public health efforts by dangerously distorting sound scientific guidance. It is designed to exploit our emotions and biases at a time of heightened fear,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres in a statement. “But there are ways users can learn to recognise bad information and slow the spread. We are aiming to have the phrase, ‘Pause, take care before you share,’ become a new public norm.”
This has generated enormous concern within the organization, who see how their scientific reports are discredited on the internet and follows the report that they’re building an army of internet users to flag and report what they say is misinformation online.
Since that doesn’t appear to be working, to try to combat the proliferation of this content, the UN launched a new rather patronizing campaign called “Pause.”
The campaign has been created with the help of multiple psychologists and researchers of human behavior. The UN asks each person to ask the “who, what, why, where, and when” of each news item they will share online.
The initiative was quickly received by Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok, who have indicated that they will do everything possible to inform about the campaign on their platforms.
“It is encouraging to see steps already taken by social media platforms, such as swiftly removing misinformation surrounding COVID-19, flagging harmful content, questioning sharing intentions and also promoting sound health advice, including from the World Health Organization (WHO),” said Melissa Fleming, UN Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications.
She more prominently added: “Just as social distancing slows the spread of the virus, behavior changes around sharing will go a long way to slow the spread of misinformation. But it can only be meaningfully halted if there is no place for misinformation on social media platforms.”
A group of international media outlets also joined the campaign, which has consistently shown the recommendations given by the UN during their routine schedule.
António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, hopes that with these measures the slogan “Pause, take care before you share” can become viral. Guterres may be correct there – it likely will go viral, but not for the reason he thinks.