Click to join an upcoming live event

Turn off Ads (click)

Click on your language to translate this article:

Afrikaans Afrikaans Albanian Albanian Amharic Amharic Arabic Arabic Armenian Armenian Azerbaijani Azerbaijani Basque Basque Belarusian Belarusian Bengali Bengali Bosnian Bosnian Bulgarian Bulgarian Catalan Catalan Cebuano Cebuano Chichewa Chichewa Chinese (Simplified) Chinese (Simplified) Chinese (Traditional) Chinese (Traditional) Corsican Corsican Croatian Croatian Czech Czech Danish Danish Dutch Dutch English English Esperanto Esperanto Estonian Estonian Filipino Filipino Finnish Finnish French French Frisian Frisian Galician Galician Georgian Georgian German German Greek Greek Gujarati Gujarati Haitian Creole Haitian Creole Hausa Hausa Hawaiian Hawaiian Hebrew Hebrew Hindi Hindi Hmong Hmong Hungarian Hungarian Icelandic Icelandic Igbo Igbo Indonesian Indonesian Irish Irish Italian Italian Japanese Japanese Javanese Javanese Kannada Kannada Kazakh Kazakh Khmer Khmer Korean Korean Kurdish (Kurmanji) Kurdish (Kurmanji) Kyrgyz Kyrgyz Lao Lao Latin Latin Latvian Latvian Lithuanian Lithuanian Luxembourgish Luxembourgish Macedonian Macedonian Malagasy Malagasy Malay Malay Malayalam Malayalam Maltese Maltese Maori Maori Marathi Marathi Mongolian Mongolian Myanmar (Burmese) Myanmar (Burmese) Nepali Nepali Norwegian Norwegian Pashto Pashto Persian Persian Polish Polish Portuguese Portuguese Punjabi Punjabi Romanian Romanian Russian Russian Samoan Samoan Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic Serbian Serbian Sesotho Sesotho Shona Shona Sindhi Sindhi Sinhala Sinhala Slovak Slovak Slovenian Slovenian Somali Somali Spanish Spanish Sudanese Sudanese Swahili Swahili Swedish Swedish Tajik Tajik Tamil Tamil Telugu Telugu Thai Thai Turkish Turkish Ukrainian Ukrainian Urdu Urdu Uzbek Uzbek Vietnamese Vietnamese Welsh Welsh Xhosa Xhosa Yiddish Yiddish Yoruba Yoruba Zulu Zulu
Breaking Travel News Cultural Travel News etn Feature Article People in Travel & Tourism Responsible Tourism News Tourism News Travel News Travel Safety & Emergencies Travel Technology News Travel Wire News USA Travel News

A third of the public believes in COVID-19 social media myths

A third of the public believes in COVID-19 social media myths

Misinformation can be dangerous even during times of relative calm, but during a health crisis like the current pandemic the stakes are much higher.

A new study, titled “Going Viral: How Social Media Is Making the Coronavirus Worse,” found that close to a third of the public may harbor false views about the pandemic.

Defeating the coronavirus depends on an informed and conscientious public that will conform to social distancing guidelines; practice good hygiene; and avoid unnecessary trips away from home. But so far the public’s response has been mixed, and misinformation about COVID-19 are a big part of the problem.

To help understand the role misinformation is playing in the crisis, new study both surveyed members of the public to see how well they understood COVID-19 and analyzed social media posts about the virus.

The survey included 1,000 participants, from a diverse range of ages and geographical locations. The team drew on information from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.

The results of the survey included the following:

  • 26 percent thought the virus was likely to die off in the spring, even though health experts are uncertain how temperature affects the spread of the virus.
  • 10 percent thought regularly rinsing their nose with saline would help ward off the virus.
  • 12 percent believed COVID-19 was created by people.

Many survey participants, moreover, did not take the virus as seriously as one might hope: 20 percent believed it was not serious, while only 18 percent thought it was “extremely serious.”

The research team also investigated the effect higher rates of social media use had on participants’ responses.

Those who only checked social media infrequently were significantly less likely (22 percent) to be misinformed about the virus than those who checked it hourly or more (36 percent).

Finally, the analysis investigated Twitter activity and showed that during March, there were about 1,000 tweets per minute about COVID-19.

In short, the information on social media about COVID-19 is high in volume and low in quality, and heavy users of social media tend to exhibit a poor understanding of the crisis.

“These results are alarming because an ill-informed public could undermine efforts to contain the virus,” say the authors of the report. “The coronavirus crisis is being exacerbated by a crisis in basic media literacy.”