Scientific American: Attempts at Debunking “Fake News” about Epidemics Might Do More Harm Than Good

26 February, 2020

Dear Neil & colleagues,

Another article that may interest those concerned about misinformation:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/attempts-at-debunking-fake-ne...

An extract from the article:

"Researchers at Dartmouth College, IE University in Spain and other institutions conducted social science experiments showing that attempts to counter false beliefs about the Zika virus with information from the World Health Organization were often counterproductive: the debunking failed to lower misperceptions and even reduced respondents’ confidence in accurate information about the epidemic of the pathogen. The study https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/5/eaaw7449/tab-article-info appeared in Science Advances on January 29."

The article referred to:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32064329

A concluding sentence from the authors: "Public health officials and other communicators should therefore conduct experimental trials to ensure that information campaigns are not counterproductive."

Best wishes

Julie

HIFA profile: Julie N Reza is a UK-based specialist in communications for biosciences, global health & international development (www.globalbiomedia.co.uk). She predominantly works with NGOs and not-for-profit organisations. Previously she was the senior science editor at TDR, based at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva; prior to this she worked at the Wellcome Trust, UK, leading educational projects on international health topics including trypanosomiasis and trachoma. She has a PhD in immunology and a specialist degree in science communication. She also has several years research and postgraduate teaching experience. She is a member of the HIFA Steering Group and HIFA Social Media Working Group. www.hifa.org/people/steering-group

www.hifa.org/people/social-media

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Email: naimareza AT hotmail.com