April 18, 2020
What social distancing is to pandemic, cross-check is to #infodemic.
It is important to understand that cross-checking any news before its circulation can stop infodemics just as similar to the ways that social distancing can contain the spread of #COVID19.
Several instances of misleading information have led many to fall victim of infodemics over the last one week.
The circulation of unsubstantiated medical chemicals as a cure for the novel coronavirus or false reports on resumption of transport services gathering people in stations and bus depots violating the lockdown have added fuel to the spread of misinformation.
As the frontline warrior against fake information, various companies and organizations like Google, Google News Initiative, Facebook, Yahoo News, etc. have either invested on or themselves set up a fact-check points or agencies to cross check any facts before it is spread or circulated.
But, huge investments like $1 million by Facebook or $6.5 million by Google to support fact checking and verification efforts by fact checkers and non-profit agencies do not matter at all till people in general do not start cross-checking an information by themselves from different sources.
People must make the habit to cross-check their information at all times, to use every available source in their quest to learn more about the origin of the information.
It is true that a number of fact-check organizations have risen; but at the same time, it cannot be denied of the fact that these agencies or fact checkers may not be independent. They may lead to the circulation of biased facts.
Therefore, as much as possible, one must be independent to cross check any information; so that the origin of the information can be traced without any vested interest of any organization.
FAKE: Consuming high-strength alcohol can kill the COVID-19 virus.
FACT: It does not. Consuming any alcohol poses health risks, but consuming high-strength ethyl alcohol (ethanol), particularly if it has been adulterated with methanol, can result in severe health consequences, including death (World Health Organization).
#CheckTheFake is a movement against #Infodemic in this crisis, initiated by Dr Anamika Ray Memorial Trust #ARMT (www.armt.in) in collaboration with The Assam Tribune and Northeast Now (www.nenow.in) to create awareness on #fakenews on #Coronavirus and improve media literacy through #Cartoons. ARMT Research