Smittan som spred sig snabbare än coronaviruset

Falsk och vilseledande information under coronakrisen 2020


  • Emma Ricknell


The virus that spread faster than SARS-CoV-2: False and misleading information during the Corona crisis 2020

Not only did a pandemic break out in 2020. There was also an outbreak of a so-called “infodemic” of previously unforeseen magnitude, as information regarding the new corona virus, both accurate and inaccurate, rapidly flooded the Internet. Among the false and misleading information that quickly started to spread, three themes were among some of the most commonly occurring: the origin of the virus, alternative medical advice, cures and treatment and the vaccine. This paper discusses the three themes based upon recent research, and argues that they were each fairly predictable. Not only was the demand for information regarding the new virus enormous – and understandably so – but the groundwork for misinformation on the different themes had already been laid. Some of the false information therefore got off to a flying start. The paper concludes that remedies to address this kind of information suffer from the inherently very high level of uncertainty that follow significant health emergencies, which in turn sets the bar very high in terms of accurately addressing false claims.