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Tracking the infodemic

 

“The 2019-nCoV outbreak and response has been accompanied by a massive ‘infodemic’ — an overabundance of information — some accurate and some not — that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it.”

– World Health Organization Situation Report, February 2, 2020.

At First Draft, we have spent much of 2020 tracking the infodemic. In this overview, we bring together our editorial series, ‘Tracking the infodemic’, which covered how some governments are adopting “fake news laws” that threaten human rights, how geopolitics is influencing online communities’ responses to coronavirus treatments, and the impact of religious misinformation in Latin America. We also investigated how Twitter’s algorithm led anti-mask sentiment to boost pro-mask content, as well as how the concepts of “the facts” and “the truth” are creating different ways of knowing during the crisis.