Today we connect with health and media experts in New York.
From conspiracy theories about the origin of COVID-19, to junk science like eating garlic and using bleach to cure the virus, fake news and information have been spreading as fast as the virus itself across social media, the internet and even on mainstream media.
This has not helped societies handle the deadly pandemic, only promoting greater fear and mistrust, questionable health advice, xenophobia and even the hoarding of toilet paper.
To discuss how we can combat this so-called 'infodemic', we connect with Dr. Bruce Y. Lee, Doctor of Medicine and medical journalist, and Jeremy Kaplan, Editor in Chief of Digital Trends, both joining us from New York.
Let’s start with the most outlandish fake news or information you’ve heard regarding COVID-19.
Dr. Lee, as a journalist and a doctor of medicine, how does it make you feel to read these bizarre pieces of information floating around the web?
Mr. Kaplan: Fake news comes in various forms: news articles, images, and even videos and social media accounts. As a figure in media, does it worry you just how advanced and widely dispersed fake news has become even in traditional media hroughout this crisis?
Dr. Lee, admittedly, some fake news content can give us a laugh when it’s quite obviously fake. But when it affects health and safety, it’s no laughing matter. This goes for any news that goes unchecked, such as France’s health ministry suggesting painkillers such as ibuprofen could worsen the effects of the coronavirus. Instead, the minister recommended acetaminophen. What are your thoughts on this and what kind of medical disinformation should we be wary of?
Mr. Kaplan: Of course, as non-medical experts, most members of the public simply don’t know enough facts to distinguish what’s true or false. Mr. Kaplan, what are some ways people can spot fake news?
That's all we have time for today. But our viewers can follow Bruce Y. Lee's articles on the issue and Jeremy Kaplan, Editor-in-Chief of Digital Trends for more on how to spot fake news on the coronavirus.
Thank you both for joining us all the way from New York.