Importance of COVID-19 misinformation on social networks (2)

24 January, 2024

Thanks to Bernard Seytre for sharing the news that there is not so much misinformation about - he notes that studies of social network posts covering the five months from December 2019 to May 2020 showed 0.2% to 14.2% misinformation. But is this little? Misinformation is an error, and should be an extreme rarity. When the rate pushes up above 10% this is clearly a serious flaw in the information system. In fact, much of this is likely to be disinformation - deliberately wrong information, spread to further a political or social agenda - rather than misinformation. 

The studies Bernard cites related to the early phases of the pandemic. A question that arises is, how did the process continue - was there more mis/disinfirmation later, or had the system somehow started to cope and drill down on the erroneous news? This would be interesting to document, for use in the futurre.

Finally, when it comes to considering something an "infodemic", this is rather more than just misinformation - the main components of an infodemic are an overload of information arriving too quickly to manage (see my WHO/PAHO paper "Infodemics and infodemiology: a short history, a long future"



Chris Zielinski

Centre for Global Health, University of Winchester, UK  and

President-elect, World Association of Medical Editors (WAME)

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HIFA profile: Chris Zielinski: As a Visiting Fellow and Lecturer at the Centre for Global Health, University of Winchester, Chris leads the Partnerships in Health Information (Phi) programme, which supports knowledge development and brokers healthcare information exchanges of all kinds. He is the elected Vice President (and President-in-Waiting) of the World Association of Medical Editors. Chris has held senior positions in publishing and knowledge management with WHO in Brazzaville, Geneva, Cairo and New Delhi, with FAO in Rome, ILO in Geneva, and UNIDO in Vienna. He served on WHO's Ethical Review Committee, and was an originator of the African Health Observatory. He also spent three years in London as Chief Executive of the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society. Chris has been a director of the UK Copyright Licensing Agency, Educational Recording Agency, and International Association of Audiovisual Writers and Directors. He has served on the boards of several NGOs and ethics groupings (information and computer ethics and bioethics). chris AT His publications are at and and his blogs are and