A project tracking PA Vaccine Conversations and Misinformation on Twitter, supported by the Henry L. Hillman Foundation
There is no doubt that a global pandemic is a scary phenomenon. Hence, it is not surprising that many stories regarding the event will surface and be communicated. For COVID-19 a number of stories containing inaccurate or misleading information have populated social media. We list here the stories of this type that have been identified. Whether they are being spread by those knowing they are inaccurate maliciously, as a joke, or simply to discuss the inaccuracy is under study at this time. The point here is simply that these stories are not accurate.
It is important to note that in every disaster or crisis situation disinformation and misinformation appear. It is also the case that many of these stories are short lived and have little impact. Further, many of these stories can be stopped simply by people calling them out, or making fun of them with satire. In many cases the spread of the stories can increase if they are rebroadcast by celebrities or news agencies. The irony is that in many cases, readers cannot tell when satire is being used, and may mistake the satire for fact. Another irony is that stories that talk about a story containing disinformation may spread both the inaccurate information and the information that it is inaccurate.