By Nick Kossovan
Social media during the pandemic has played a significant role in informing people and continues to do so. As well, social media became a haven to escape from the craziness by doing viral challenges — from doodling, trick shots, baking, and dance-based challenges on platforms like Instagram and TikTok.
COVID became a catalyst for news agencies to broaden their social media presence. Access to reliable information is now a vital part of our daily routine.
Conversely, a lot of information circulating on the Internet is engineered misinformation. Remember the conspiracy theory that 5G towers give people COVID? Then there was Donald Trump, the world’s most noteworthy driver of COVID misinformation, declaring antimalaria drug hydroxychloroquine being a “game-changer.” Then during a White House briefing (April 2020), Trump suggested an injection with a disinfectant, such as bleach, would fight the virus.
I won’t get into the number of “COVID miracle cures” floating around the Internet.
There are two types of false information that thrive:
- Misinformation—inadvertently drawing conclusions based on wrong or incomplete facts.
- Disinformation—deliberately spreading fabrications to promote an agenda.
Both are a serious threat to public health.
Social media platforms facilitate the spreading of information, which is their reason for existence and popularity. Unfortunately, this ease of communicating information has led to widespread disinformation complicating public health response, creating confusion, and contributing to vaccine hesitancy.
At this critical stage, when we’re finally starting to turn the corner to head into a post-COVID world, ask yourself: What’s my social media responsibility now?
Your social media responsibility begins with separating disinformation from accurate information. How? By trusting your common sense. If the information in question doesn’t sound right or seems suspicious, don’t immediately trust it. More importantly, don’t forward it, share it (i.e., retweet, post on Facebook), or like it—this will just spread the disinformation. Do some research!
I suggest getting your information from multiple sources so you can compare the information and make an informed decision. There are many digital “one shop” news resources available that will provide you with news articles from reliable sources. Being an Apple iPhone user, I use Apple News+. Other reliable news resources I’d recommend: Google News, Reuters, Associated Press, and Newspaper Source Plus.
When reviewing a news source, ask yourself:
- What’s the author’s knowledge about the subject?
- Does the author, or media outlet, have an agenda?
- Where did the author get their information?
- When was the material written?
- Has the material been reviewed for publication or simply posted with a disclaimer?
Suppose the news source doesn’t provide information about the author or isn’t clear where the author got the information. In that case, credibility and reliability are hard to evaluate—a red flag. Sources that clearly state these things are generally more reliable.
It goes without saying never trust, forward or repost, anything appearing on your Facebook wall or Twitter feed without first doing due diligence.
You owe yourself to check your sources of information; it’s a large part of being social media responsible. You don’t want to unintentionally spread rumors, or fake news, that has the potential to lead to vaccine hesitancy.
Social media companies are beginning to show a willingness to address disinformation on their respective platform. However, those with an agenda to undermine trust in the vaccine will not be using outright lies. Instead, they will be leading campaigns designed to undermine the institutions, companies, and people managing the rollout. They’ll be posting vaccine injury stories and providing first-person videos detailing side effects that are difficult to fact check. When a radio station asks on Facebook, “Will you be getting the COVID vaccine?” the comments will be flooded with conspiracy theories.
There’s nothing you or I can do to prevent COVID disinformation from appearing on social media. By verifying your information sources, refraining from spreading rumors, along with washing your hands and wearing a mask while in public, you’ll be doing your part in helping to wrestle this pandemic into becoming a footnote in our history.
Nick Kossovan writes the column Digitized Koffee With Nick, which appears in several newspapers and is the Customer Service Professionals Network’s Director of Social Media (Executive Board Member). On Twitter and Instagram follow @NKossovan.
456 new COVID-19 cases in BC, 2 deaths – Parksville Qualicum Beach News – Parksville Qualicum Beach News
There are 237 British Columbians battling COVID-19 in hospital, as the province recorded 456 new infections and two further deaths.
In a joint statement Wednesday (Feb. 23), provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said 64 of those in hospital are in intensive care.
Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C. A total of 1,338 people have died.
About 4,668 of those infections remain active, a vast majority recovering in self-isolation at home.
To date, 230,875 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C. – 62,608 of which are second doses.
Henry and Dix recognized Pink Shirt Day, calling on British Columbians “to remind ourselves about the importance of compassion and kindness in the face” of the pandemic and all the challenges faced.
“Kindness is staying away from friends and family, it is offering thanks to the store clerk who reminds us to follow their safety plan, it is offering a smile – even behind our masks and assuming the best of everyone around us.”
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News Releases | Province Considers Changes to Public Health Orders, Seeks Feedback on Manitobans' Reopening Priorities – news.gov.mb.ca
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Public information, contact Manitoba Government Inquiry: 1-866-626-4862 or 204-945-3744.
Media requests for general information, contact Communications Services Manitoba: 204-945-3765.
Media requests for ministerial comment, contact Communications and Stakeholder Relations: 204-290-5374.
Manitoba reports lowest test positivity rate since October as 70 new COVID-19 cases announced – CBC.ca
Manitoba announced 70 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday and reported its lowest test positivity rate in more than four months.
That rate dropped from 4.6 per cent to 4.3 Thursday — the lowest announced since Oct. 20, when it was at the same spot. Winnipeg’s rate dipped to 3.8 per cent from four a day earlier.
A man in his 70s from the Winnipeg health region died, bringing the province’s total number of coronavirus-linked deaths to 888.
Most of the new cases on Thursday are split between the Winnipeg health region, which has 31 cases, and the Northern Health Region, with 30, the province says in a news release.
There are seven new cases in the Interlake-Eastern health region and two in the Southern Health region, while the Prairie Mountain Health region reported no new infections.
No new cases of the more infectious B117 coronavirus variant first detected in the U.K. have been identified in Manitoba since one was announced on Tuesday, bringing the province’s total to five.
Strict public health orders on Pauingassi First Nation, about 280 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg, have been lifted now that the risk of COVID-19 spreading in that community has stabilized, the release says.
The fly-in community of about 500 people brought in stay-at-home orders at the start of this month when nearly one in every four people there tested positive for the illness.
All Manitoba’s other public health orders are still in effect.
Vaccines doses received top 100K
The province has now received more than 100,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, according to its online dashboard.
Of the 102,360 doses, 69,060 — about two-thirds — have been administered, the dashboard says.
So far, 2.6 per cent of Manitobans over 18 have gotten both their shots, with 47,920 more immunizations planned over the next 28 days, the dashboard says.
There are now 196 COVID-19 patients in hospital in Manitoba, a drop of 11 since Wednesday. Twenty-six of those people are in intensive care, down by three.
Three previously announced COVID-19 cases were removed from Manitoba’s total on Thursday because of a data correction, the release says. That brings the number of cases identified in the province so far to 31,657.
Of those cases, 29,563 people are considered to have recovered from the illness, while 1,206 are still deemed active — a number health officials have said may be inflated by a data entry backlog.
There were 2,290 more COVID-19 tests done in Manitoba on Wednesday, bringing the total number of swabs completed in the province to 519,892 since early last February.
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