WHO Digital Health: Combatting misinformation online

28 August, 2021

I would like to highlight some of WHO's current activities and invite HIFA members to share their work in this area. Read online https://www.who.int/teams/digital-health-and-innovation/digital-channels...

'WHO and partners recognize that misinformation online has the potential to travel further, faster and sometimes deeper than the truth — on some social media platforms, falsehoods are 70% more likely to get shared than accurate news. To counter this, WHO has taken a number of actions with tech companies to remain one step ahead.'

'Changing social media policy and guidelines

WHO works with social media policy departments to ensure company policy and guidelines for content providers are fit for purpose. For example, WHO worked with YouTube to enhance their COVID-19 Misinformation Policy and provide guidelines for content providers to ensure no medical misinformation related to the virus proliferates on their platform. Policy updates such as this have led to the removal of 850,000 YouTube videos related to harmful or misleading COVID-19 misinformation from February 2020 to January 2021.'

'Reporting Misinformation

Social media platforms have also granted WHO access to fast track reporting systems, which allows us to flag misinformation on their platforms, speeding up the reporting and removal of content that breaks policy. WHO also works with Member States such as the Government of the United Kingdom to raise awareness of misinformation around COVID-19 and vaccines, and encourage individuals to report false or misleading content online.'

'Leveraging data insights

On a weekly basis, WHO works with YouTube, Google, Facebook and several other partners such as NewsGuard to obtain industry-leading insights that help identify burgeoning misinformation and subsequently allows WHO to target science-based health information where it’s needed most.'

If you are working in any area of combatting misinformation, perhaps as a librarian or information professional, please do let us know so that we can learn from your experience.

Best wishes, Neil

Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator, neil@hifa.org www.hifa.org