Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Concrete Recommendations for Cutting through Misinformation During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Dr. Joan Donovan, Research Director on Media at Harvard's Shorenstein Center at The Kennedy School of Government, recently gave a webinar for the NNML on "Concrete Recommendations for Cutting through Misinformation During the COVID-19 Pandemic."  

She cited her parallel article in the special Health Misinformation issue of AJPH that discusses possible methods for mitigating misinformation about public health amid the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly on social media resources such as Facebook and Twitter, and other Internet outlets such as YouTube and Google. 

Donovan J. Concrete Recommendations for Cutting Through Misinformation During the COVID-19 Pandemic. American Journal of Public Health. 2020;110:S286-S287. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2020.305922.   Link to article on Academic Search Premier via Badgerlink.


Dr. Donovan cited their Media Manipulation Casebook, which is a "digital research platform linking together theory, methods, and practice for mapping media manipulation and disinformation campaigns.  This resource is intended for researchers, journalists, technologists, policymakers, educators, and civil society organizers, who want to learn about detecting, documenting, describing, and debunking misinformation."     The Casebook acknowledges that misinformation is an entire industry.

In the webinar, Dr Donovan described the Media Manipulation Life Cycle:

1) Manipulation Campaign Planning - Where did it begin?

2) Seeding campaign across social platforms and web - Where does it start?  Who authors it?

3) Responses by industry activists, politicians, and journalists who are often targeted.  

    • This is the stage at which we notice it.

4) Mitigation - where social media platforms may start blocking content about it, or marking it.  Journalists may debunk it.  Organizers/Activists may publish white papers debunking it.

5)  Manipulators make adjustments to the new environment, especially if it's profitable.  They will create entire ecosystems to allow people to "Do your research."    They may use techniques such as 

But there are some concrete ways to fight  back.   The article gives 5 concrete ways to respond to health misinformation.    [Take a look at the article ...  It's a short read at only 2 pages.]

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