In my not so humble opinion, there is no lower form of life than those who take advantage of disasters and tragedy to spread misinformation, fear and hate, either for profit, political gain, or even worse, for their own entertainment. Sadly, the internet, as I have written about previously, is amazingly efficient at spreading information paired with the unfortunate inability to provide any differentiation between truth and lies. Ideally, this is how the internet is supposed to work – no one should have the ability to censor any of the information shared on the internet, but this double-edged sword cuts both ways.
Who can you trust for news?
The outbreak of the Corona Virus has dominated the news headlines lately, so it’s only natural to expect a lot of buzz in social media about the illness, and because the internet is a target-rich environment for anyone looking to spread misinformation, either for profit or general mayhem, naturally all sorts of crackpot miracle cures, conspiracy theories and racist stereotypes are finding audiences starved for information about the disease. It doesn’t help that the outbreak is happening in China, a nation with a history of other deadly viral outbreaks and a notorious lack of transparency, on top of having a bit of a human-rights image problem at the moment.
Unfortunately for us, most of the major social media outlets are already struggling to combat “fake news” and general distrust of scientific procedure and evidence on a wide variety of topics. While some have prevaricated on politics, most of them seem to have their heads on straight when it comes to medical matters, especially when misinformation can lead to significant health issues. Even though they have fact checking organizations publishing corrections, algorithms downgrading inaccurate posts, and moderators cracking down on pseudo-science discussion groups, plenty of misinformation continues to spread.
The “signal to noise” ratio on the internet is not getting any better, which only it makes it harder for those of us who are trying to make sure the information we receive not only confirms our beliefs, but is also backed by facts and scientific rigor. Here are a list of trusted organizations that can help us all separate fact from fiction online:
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