UN launches global campaign against COVID-19 misinformation

Atta Ur Rehman KhanWeb Editor & Columnist

05th Jul, 2020. 09:36 pm
UN launches global campaign against COVID-19 misinformation

The United Nations today launched a new campaign to temporary behaviour change and counter the growing threat of misinformation online.

According to the details, the campaign, called Pause, asks digital users to take the time to think about what they share before posting it on internet.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres wrote on Twitter, “Misinformation can hinder our efforts to make progress on the issues that affect us all. We all have a part to play in stopping its spread. Pause and #TakeCareBeforeYouShare.”

He said, “Misinformation is spreading faster than the virus itself, and is seriously disrupting public health efforts by dangerously distorting sound scientific guidance.”

“But there are ways users can learn to recognize bad information and slow the spread. We are aiming to have the phrase, ‘Pause, take care before you share,’ become a new public norm,” he also said.

The statement said that a range of media companies around the world, including Al Jazeera, Deutsche Welle, Euronews, France Médias Monde, MultiChoice Africa and StarTimes, are distributing Pause content on TV channels, online and via SMS.

Major social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Google (YouTube) and TikTok, have also committed to promoting Pause, while indicating a willingness to scale up their ongoing efforts to suppress the circulation of misinformation, sources said.

Earlier, Google says it will provide $6.5 million in funding to organizations combating misinformation around the globe, with “an immediate focus on coronavirus.” The initiative will see the company approach the problem from several different angles, working with a broad slate of non-profits.

Misinformation organizations, which often operate on relatively small budgets, are seeing a surge in demand for their work as mistaken or maliciously false information about the pandemic spreads, according to Alexios Mantzarlis of the Google News Lab.

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