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Infodemic

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Infodemic is a portmanteau of "information" and "epidemic" that typically refers to a rapid and far-reaching spread of both accurate and inaccurate information about something, such as a disease. As facts, rumors, and fears mix and disperse, it becomes difficult to learn essential information about an issue.

History[edit]

Infodemic was certainly used in 2003, in connection with SARS[1] and has seen renewed usage in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.[2]

The United Nations and the World Health Organization began using the term "infodemic" during the Sars-COV-2 crisis as early as 31 March 2020.[3]

A Royal Society and British Academy joint report published in October 2020 said of infodemics that: "COVID-19 vaccine deployment faces an infodemic with misinformation often filling the knowledge void, characterised by: (1) distrust of science and selective use of expert authority, (2) distrust in pharmaceutical companies and government, (3) straightforward explanations, (4) use of emotion; and, (5) echo chambers," and to combat the ill and "inoculate the public" endorsed the Singaporean POFMA legislation, which criminalises misinformation.[4][5]

A blue-ribbon working group on infodemics, from the Forum on Information and Democracy, produced a report in November 2020, highlighting 250 recommendations, to protect democracies, human rights, and health.[6]

References[edit]

  1. Rothkopf, D. J. (14 May 2003). "SARS also spurs an 'information epidemic'". Newsday. ProQuest 279705520. Retrieved 2020-12-12. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  2. "Words We're Watching: 'Infodemic'". www.merriam-webster.com.
  3. "UN tackles 'infodemic' of misinformation".
  4. COVID-19 vaccine deployment: Behaviour, ethics, misinformation and policy strategies (PDF). Royal Society. 21 October 2020. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  5. Knapton, Sarah (10 November 2020). "Spreading anti-vaxx myths 'should be made a criminal offence'". Telegraph Media Group Limited.
  6. "250 recommendations on how to stop "infodemics"". Forum Information & Democracy. 12 November 2020. Retrieved 15 November 2020.


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