University of the Philippines professor, Yvonne Chua, advises to check the facts in order to prevent the proliferation of false news.
In her presentation during “Less Noise, More Facts: Improving Information Dissemination for a Better Normal” webinar organized by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, Chua said that fact-checking weakens the basis of disinformation and exposes it. She said that 9 out of 10 Filipinos have been exposed to disinformation, and that many Filipinos have been exposed to false or misleading information about COVID-19, politics, and celebrities.
Chua said that findings in the InterNews study showed the need to equip Filipinos with verification or fact-checking skills.
Likewise, fake news has serious impacts on the response to COVID-19, according to Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) Research Information Department Director Dr. Sheila V. Siar. Quoting from World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Siar said that the world is fighting not just a pandemic but also an ‘infodemic’ as fake news is spreading faster than COVID-19.
Siar said that, “Fake news can expose individuals and communities to further risks from not following the health protocols and not getting vaccinated. It can also instigate public fear, panic, and anxiety, creating a host of mental health issues.”
Siar suggested to increase people’s awareness, familiarity, and understanding of available tools for fact-checking. She said government agencies, academic institutions, and media networks should help in promoting these to validate the authenticity of information circulated on the internet and through social media; developing analytical thinking and digital intelligence early on in life among children, stressing that, the propensity to fall prey to fake news is linked to poor analytical thinking and reflective reasoning.”
photo source: https://www.scientificamerican.com/