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How health officials and social media are teaming up to fight the coronavirus 'infodemic' – CNN

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The WHO defines an infodemic as “an overabundance of information — some accurate and some not — that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it.” The problem is aided by the ease and speed with which false or misleading information can spread on social media.
Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, emerged in China in January and now has spread to more than 85,000 global cases with infections on every continent except for Antarctica. As the disease has spread, so too have false claims online about how it began, the number of people infected and promises of magical cures.
“In this particular case, with COVID-19, because of the growth of social media platforms in recent years, information is spreading faster than the virus itself,” Aleksandra Kuzmanovic, social media manager for the WHO, told CNN’s Brian Stelter on “Reliable Sources” Sunday.
Facebook and Twitter ask to see government report linking coronavirus misinformation to Russia
In an effort to help people sort through the sometimes overwhelming amount of information online, Kuzmanovic said the organization is working directly with social media companies to ensure users are directed to trusted sources. Now, when social media users on a number of platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, search for “coronavirus,” they are directed first to information from either the WHO, the Centers for Disease Control or their national health ministry.
The WHO is also working to produce information in a range of languages as the outbreak spreads around the world.
But as digital misinformation campaigns become increasingly sophisticated, the WHO and other world health officials should be doing more, said Seema Yasmin, director of the Stanford Health Communication Initiative and a former officer with the Centers for Disease Control’s Epidemic Intelligence Service.
“We’ve seen the spread of rumors and anti-science messages during Ebola, during Zika,” Yasmin said. “The anti-vaccine movement is not new, and WHO’s response often has been, ‘Oh, there’s a really bad outbreak of measles in Eastern Europe, it’s okay, we’re going to disseminate pamphlets.’ That’s not enough when the anti-science messages are sophisticated, targeting vulnerable populations and really tailoring anti-science messages to groups that believe them.”
Yasmin urged news organizations to put resources toward doing health and science journalism and encouraged health officials to be proactive in fighting the ongoing issue of health misinformation online.
Some social media platforms have independently taken further steps to curb misinformation and panic surrounding coronavirus.
Facebook (FB) said several weeks ago it would remove content with bogus cures or other false claims about coronavirus or posts that could create confusion about where accurate information can be found.
The company will “remove content with false claims or conspiracy theories that have been flagged by leading global health organizations and local health authorities that could cause harm to people who believe them,” according to a blog post published in early February by Kang-Xing Jin, Facebook’s head of health.
Last week, a Facebook spokesperson told CNN Business that the platform is working with its fact-checking partners to debunk false claims about the virus. Once Facebook posts and links are fact-checked and found to be false, the spokesperson said, the platform “dramatically” cuts their distribution. People who see this content, try to share it, or already have, are alerted that it’s false.
Those efforts point to a shift in Facebook’s response to false information on its platform in recent years, according to Steven Levy, editor-at-large for Wired magazine and author of the new book, “Facebook: The Inside Story.”
“In 2015, some people tried really actively to get them to take down the (anti-vaccination) stuff and it did not resonate with them,” Levy said. “They weren’t dealing at all with the concept of what we now call ‘fake news.’ But now they’re much more sensitive.”
However, Levy pointed out that the company’s reaction is still often dependent on public opinion.
“What seems to happen is that when there’s enough of an outcry, when Facebook’s practices are exposed, you know, people say, ‘Wow this can’t happen,’ Facebook will step in and say, ‘I guess we have to make an exception for this.'”
Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Iqaluit woman's daily social media videos offer Inuit-specific 'reasons to stay alive' – CBC.ca

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A young woman from Iqaluit is using social media to advocate for more mental health resources in her community by spreading messages of hope.

Annie Buscemi, 23, an apprentice electrician who has been off work since getting injured in September, started an Instagram and a TikTok account in early October to cope with not being able to work.

Every day on her accounts — ullaakkut (which means good morning in Inuktitut) on Instagram and annieneevee on TikTok — Buscemi posts a video in which she gives one Inuit-specific reason to stay alive.

“I wanted to find a way to keep my mental health healthy and keep my days positive. And when I started this thing, I found a really big difference in my own daily life as well,” she said.

Buscemi said in the last five or six years, she tried several times to talk to a counsellor about her own mental health and has only been able to do so on a couple of occasions.

“Unfortunately, I had to speak to one of them in a hospital, [in] an emergency situation,” she said.

“I’ve had some pretty bad experiences with my own mental health and I found that the mental health resources in Iqaluit aren’t helping me.”

As long as I keep going for myself, I can keep going for other people. – Annie Buscemi

Buscemi said she wants to see more mental health counsellors in Iqaluit and more Inuit-specific youth programs to help young Inuit connect more with their culture.

In the meantime, she decided to take “little steps” like the daily videos she posts, she said.

Impact ‘makes me want to keep going’

Buscemi said she receives messages daily on her Instagram account, which already has more than 600 followers, and her TikTok account that has more than 6,800 followers. People from across Canada and the U.S. thank her for doing the videos.

“Some people have shared their own experiences and how my videos have helped them in their daily lives so I feel like I’m making a pretty big impact and it’s having a big impact on me, too.” she said.

Her latest fan, she said, is her grandmother, to whom she showed her account earlier this week when they had dinner together.

Buscemi said her grandmother spent close to two hours on her couch looking at her videos.

“She was sitting there laughing and sometimes she had tears in her eyes … It makes me want to keep going, like even more,” she said.

Dealing with the pressure

Buscemi started getting recognized in Iqaluit, a city of about 7,700 people, where she said people she doesn’t know have thanked her for posting the videos.

While she appreciates that people like her videos, she also said the recognition and attention leads to pressure.

There are some days, she said, she deals with it by turning off her phone for a couple of hours.

“[It’s to] ground myself … remind myself that I’m doing this for me. 

“I don’t want to start thinking that I’m doing this for other people [although] in a way, I am … I have to keep going for myself. As long as I keep going for myself, I can keep going for other people,” she said.

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Former James Bond actor Sean Connery dies aged 90 – British media – National Post

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Article content continued

But Connery’s influence helped shape the character in the books as well as the films. He never attempted to disguise his Scottish accent, leading Fleming to give Bond Scottish heritage in the books that were released after Connery’s debut.

Born Thomas Connery on Aug. 25, 1930, he was the elder of two sons of a long-distance truck driver and a mother who worked as a cleaner. He dropped out of school at age 13 and worked in a variety of menial jobs. At 16, two years after World War Two ended, Connery was drafted into the Royal Navy, and served three years.

““I grew up with no notion of a career, much less acting,” he once said. ““I certainly never have plotted it out. It was all happenstance, really.”

Connery played small parts with theater repertory companies before graduating to films and television.

It was his part in a 1959 Disney leprechaun movie, “Darby O’Gill and the Little People,” that helped land the role of Bond. Broccoli, a producer of the Bond films, asked his wife to watch Connery in the Disney movie while he was searching for the right leading actor.

Dana Broccoli said her husband told her he was not sure Connery had sex appeal.

“I saw that face and the way he moved and talked and I said: ‘Cubby, he’s fabulous!’” she said. “He was just perfect, he had star material right there.”

Connery married actress Diane Cilento in 1962. Before divorcing 11 years later, they had a son, Jason, who became an actor. He married French artist Micheline Roquebrune, whom he met playing golf, in 1975. (Reporting by Andrew MacAskill in London and Will Dunham and Sonya Hepinstall in Washington Editing by Bill Trott, Andrew Heavens and Frances Kerry)

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Former James Bond actor Sean Connery dies aged 90 – British media – National Post

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Article content continued

Born Thomas Connery on Aug. 25, 1930, he was the elder of two sons of a long-distance truck driver and a mother who worked as a cleaner. He dropped out of school at age 13 and worked in a variety of menial jobs. At 16, two years after World War Two ended, Connery was drafted into the Royal Navy, and served three years.

““I grew up with no notion of a career, much less acting,” he once said. ““I certainly never have plotted it out. It was all happenstance, really.”

Connery played small parts with theater repertory companies before graduating to films and television.

It was his part in a 1959 Disney leprechaun movie, “Darby O’Gill and the Little People,” that helped land the role of Bond. Broccoli, a producer of the Bond films, asked his wife to watch Connery in the Disney movie while he was searching for the right leading actor.

Dana Broccoli said her husband told her he was not sure Connery had sex appeal.

“I saw that face and the way he moved and talked and I said: ‘Cubby, he’s fabulous!’” she said. “He was just perfect, he had star material right there.”

Connery married actress Diane Cilento in 1962. Before divorcing 11 years later, they had a son, Jason, who became an actor. He married French artist Micheline Roquebrune, whom he met playing golf, in 1975. (Reporting by Andrew MacAskill in London and Will Dunham and Sonya Hepinstall in Washington Additional reporting by Alistair Smout in London Editing by Bill Trott, Andrew Heavens and Frances Kerry Reporting by Andrew MacAskill; editing by John Stonestreet)

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