Here’s how social media can cause the coronavirus ‘infodemic’

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With millions on lockdown, Facebook and Twitter are major sources of Covid-19 news. They’re also where misinformation thrives. How can Businesses step up?

Social media is one of the best ways to share news nowadays (it may be the only way for some people), especially if you are trying to alert your customers of something serious in a very, very quick manner. Whether it be COVID-19 news from individual states or news on a national scope, social media gets the message where it needs to go.

You’ve seen pretty much everything in terms of the coronavirus over the last few days to weeks. The number of people being affected by the illness in states, counties, and specific cities and towns  in the news has made people aware of how the situation has been constantly deteriorating the sense of normalcy across the nation. Social media has also educated us about the symptoms of COVID-19–in turn, perhaps saving lives!

Unfortunately and in many instances, social media can do just as much bad as it can do good. To contrast the first point I made above, social media is great for spreading information and news, but some of that can be misinformation or “fake news.” Misinformation, especially about COVID-19 related news or update, can cause panic. People who see misinformation on social media may think what they are reading is actually true. If shared, the misinformation can fuel the fear of something that isn’t true. 

Your company is going to need to make significant, rapid and repeated changes to adapt as each new phase of this crisis emerges. 

These circumstances are a fertile breeding ground for the types of rumours and fake news that destroy businesses and their reputations. 

The weeks ahead are going to be extremely challenging for all businesses without having to fend off the threat of rumours.

Considering how fast news around the coronavirus is evolving, understanding shifts in public perception about the virus is critically important. Brands and corporations seeking to protect public health, the interests of their employees, and the viability of their businesses would be well advised to stay informed of changes in public perception as the situation continues to unfold. 

Given all the unknowns in the current environment, it can be challenging to prepare for all possible scenarios. That said, there are a few concrete steps that can be taken to minimise negative outcomes, both to public health and to corporate reputation. RiskEye is like your radar for the coming storm. You must be able to see new problems before they destroy you.  If you do nothing else, you need to turn it on, right now. 

Without thoughtful strategies to prevent the misinformation, a lot could go wrong. Social media platforms will continue to be a dangerous socio-technical vulnerability in times of confusion and crisis. When information is scarce, opportunities abound for manipulators to trade on chaos and fear. 

In RiskEye, each day of this crisis is bringing examples of this potential harm to our attention.
Our existing customers are protected by our early alerts about the emergence of harmful online material. They are able to respond quickly to stop rumours from becoming ruinous. Reconsidering spending priorities will pre-occupy businesses over the next week. Turn on your social media radar for the coming storm – ask us how!

More To Explore

Impacts posed by reputational damage

Learn more about the impacts posed by reputational damage Read the article compiled by AON Insurance and Pentland Analytics entitled ‘When Crisis and Technology Collide:

Do You Want To Protect Your Business From Online Harm?

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