Rumor Review

Misinformation creates coronavirus ‘infodemic’

Here are just two recent examples of the coronavirus ‘infodemic’ related to the outbreak:

Panic buying not staged by media

NO: A mainstream media (MSM) news outlet did not stage evidence of COVID-19 panic by removing goods from shelves in a grocery store. YES: The Romanian TV news program Observator did use video of empty store shelves and coolers in a report on Feb. 26 about people buying large quantities of specific items to prepare for a possible outbreak of the disease. These include flour, canned goods and water. YES: The photo in the post above was taken during a live report broadcast the next day. The news channel whose reporter appears in the photo above has debunked this claim.

Escape from quarantine post a hoax

coronavirus quarantine viral rumor

NO: A man in his early 20s did not escape from a mandatory COVID-19 quarantine on a U.S. military base. NO: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did not run this Facebook ad about this nonexistent “escapee.” YES: This ad (note the word “Sponsored”) was purchased by an imposter page named “Covid19” and using the CDC logo.

WHO describes a coronavirus ‘infodemic’

There is far more misinformation about COVID-19 and the strain of coronavirus that causes it than we can adequately address here. For additional coverage of what the World Health Organization has called an “infodemic,” see:

Questions for discussion in the classroom

Why do you think rumors like this have appeal? What journalism standards and ethic policies address the authenticity of photos and video footage?