Beware of fake news or misinformed rumors taken as news in the midst of the current emergency. Earlier today, an image of an email was circulated. It stated that there were 2 coronavirus patients at a local hospital and asked police to ensure that they disinfect their police vehicles. Below is part of that image that was shared.
Our newsroom was inundated with queries and people asking if this was true. We quickly contacted the department’s PIO and were able to get a fast response which quelled this rumor. It was false. Here is the response we received from the official source.
In this case, it was an internally sent email that had no ill intent, but the information within it was inaccurate, and when it was leaked into social media, it immediately caught on and caused a rush of questions by people desperately wanting to know more information about it.
What can we do to prevent things like this from happening and getting out of control?
It’s important to understand the damage you can cause simply retweeting or sharing misinformation with a simple touch of a screen.
Social media is a place where users don’t attach much value to the accuracy of information. In fact, some fake news posts have a higher chance of ‘going viral’ than those with correct information.
When it comes to this virus, we should avoid retweeting potentially unreliable information. Reliable information is released by most news organizations as well as official government accounts. A good rule of thumb is that if you don’t trust the source, don’t retweet or share it.