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Public not fully responsible for spread of coronavirus misinformation: expert

Last Updated Jun 7, 2020 at 1:32 pm PDT

FILE: A health-care worker swabs a man at a walk-in COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal North, Sunday, May 10, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

WATERLOO, Ont. (NEWS 1130) — COVID-19 is the first global pandemic of the digital age and with it comes the spread of misinformation about the virus.

Professor Shanna McDonald is with the University of Waterloo Department of Communication Arts, and says the general public can not be solely responsible for the spread of fake information.

“That’s asking a lot of a public,” she says.

McDonald suggests news organizations, tech giants and governments need to lift the burden and do their part to “mobilize their resources against the spread of information and to amplify back fact-checking practices.”

If you do come across something that seems like “click-bait,” it likely is.

So, McDonald is advising you to keep a few questions in mind. “Where’s it coming from? What is the source? Is it based on evidence? Or is it opinion? Is your information from reputable news outlets that adheres to rigorous journalistic standards?”

Extra tools she recommends using are Media Smarts, The International Fact-Checking Network or Google’s Fact Check Explorer.