Disinformation campaigns began almost immediately after COVID-19 became a global concern. Individuals, groups and even foreign governments are spreading false information about all aspects of the pandemic. In some cases, this information has prompted violence, attacks and sabotage.
We all recognize the situation is fluid and new details related to COVID-19's symptoms, transmission and vaccine research emerge almost daily. However, there is a difference between new information based on reliable research and misinformation intended to do harm.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) produced a one-page overview of this problem and how to ensure the information you and the public received is accurate, safe and reliable. COVID-19 Disinformation Activity addresses virus origin, scale, 5G technology, government response, prevention and treatment.
It also covers how to protect yourself from falling for misinformation and how to avoid spreading rumors. For example, pay attention to how something was written and to the source of the information. If what you are reading has language that sensationalizes the topic, seems to promote an agenda or triggers your emotions, someone probably wrote it that way to do exactly that: trigger you. This goes for any topic, not just pandemic response.
Societies facing a crisis respond better when united. People or groups wanting to undermine that will work your fears to their advantage. Strongly consider the source and the wording of anything you read online before believing it or acting on it.