“False news”, including misinformation and improper advice on social media, may make the spread of disease worse, according to a study published Friday.
In an analysis of the impact of misinformation on the spread of diseases, scientists at the University of East Anglia (UK) said that any effort that succeeds in preventing people from spreading false news can save lives.
Regarding the new Corona virus (Covid-19) currently circulating in China, Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at UEA and one of the leaders of the research team, said, “There is a lot of speculation, false information and false news on the Internet … about how the virus originated, its causes and how it spread.” .
And he added, “False information means that false advice can spread very quickly, and it can change human behavior, which opens the door to greater risks.”
“False news is fabricated with indifference to accuracy and often based on conspiracy theory,” he added.
In a study published today, Friday, in peer-reviewed journals in the same field, researchers simulated outbreaks of diseases such as norovirus, influenza, and monkeypox.
The researchers found that a ten percent reduction in the amount of harmful advice in circulation limits the exacerbation of the disease outbreak, and that preventing people from circulating these advice by 20 percent has the same positive effect.