The new virus is not only roiling the major financial markets and prompting government agencies to issue travel bans but also spewing on the internet through numerous social media platforms. As a result, misinformation, conspiracy theories, and racists’ explanation of the coronavirus (2019-nCoV) are spreading like wildfire.
US-based companies in the social media industry are defensive about the efforts they are making to curb the spread of dangerous or falsified information. In this context, even though the media has constantly been informing the public about the potential spread of the Novel Coronavirus. However, I believe the media coverage on the issue, are blown out of proportion to the point of fear-mongering and sensationalism. Therefore, media houses and malicious people are using the opportunity to get traffic, spread racists’ notions, and while major social media companies like Twitter and Facebook are working to flag off the problematic posts.
Sensationalist headlines fail to provide the context of the information to attract the public’s interest. I have seen some media outlets putting up crazy headlines that are designed to purposefully cause harm and attract attention (Hargittai, Füchslin, & Schäfer, 3). Also, some provide historical data on the disease but fail to provide the actual information and truth about the disease. The reporters merge historical data and false information in a way that makes logical sense making it easy for anybody to believe them. For instance, there is a set of Facebook posts and tweets which claim that drinking bleach could cure or protect against the novel infection. Therefore, I believe that the government and corned personnel are working hard to eliminate the disease. However, the spread of false information may cause mayhem and make it harder for the federal government to solve the issue.
In summary, media houses and malicious people are using the opportunity to get traffic, spread racists’ notions, and while major social media companies like Twitter and Facebook are working to flag off the problematic posts. The spread of false information should be prevented to ease the alleviation strategies in place. Also, citizens should refrain from sourcing information on non-scientific platforms.
Hargittai, Eszter, Tobias Füchslin, and Mike S. Schäfer. “How do young adults engage with science and research on social media? Some preliminary findings and an agenda for future research.” Social Media+ Society 4.3 (2018): 2056305118797720.
Sommer, Will. “QAnon-Ers’ Magic Cure for Coronavirus: Just Drink Bleach!” The Daily Beast, The Daily Beast Company, 28 Jan. 2020, www.thedailybeast.com/qanon-conspiracy-theorists-magic-cure-for-coronavirus-is-drinking-lethal-bleach.
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