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Social media Limit the spread of COVID-19 fear by changing online behaviour

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Public health authorities worldwide have asked people to change their habits in order to slow the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic. They implore citizens to wash their hands more frequently, to avoid large gatherings and to put themselves in voluntary quarantine if they feel flu-like symptoms.

But as health authorities attempt to calm the public, coronavirus mis- and disinformation is spreading through social media.

Disinformation about the coronavirus not only generates fear and panic, but it can make outbreaks worse by encouraging people to follow bad advice, according to a study by U.K. researchers.

As the crisis unfolds and expands, Décrypteurs, Radio-Canada’s social media fact-checking team, has been monitoring the unprecedented spread of disinformation and fake news.

Here are a few tips you can follow to avoid infecting your friends’ feeds with disinformation.

Only share trustworthy sources you know well

 

When using social media, make sure you’ve heard of the social media account before you share any piece of information. (Wilfredo Lee/The Associated Press)

 

Social media connects the world together. It also exposes us to sources of information from around the world. In normal times, it’s already difficult to tell trustworthy sources from untrustworthy ones. In times of crisis, it’s even harder.

Only share news from local media sources you are familiar with. If you’ve never heard of the media outlet or the social media account that is putting forward a piece of information, don’t share it.

A public health notice published by the U.K. government doesn’t apply in Canada. A news item from the U.S. might not necessarily represent what’s going on here either.

The same thing goes for posts about supposed “cures” or health tips to help with COVID-19: Only trust local public health authorities.

Be wary of videos or pictures that purport to show ‘what’s really going on’

Since the beginning of the crisis, Décrypteurs has received an enormous number of questions related to images or videos circulating on social media. These images often purport to show what’s going in on in this or that country.

Not only is it often impossible to verify these videos, which likely have been filmed by unknown people in undisclosed locations, but it is also much too easy to take videos or pictures out of context and subvert the meaning. For example, Décrypteurs has seen videos from 2018 being applied to the present crisis, presenting a false narrative.

Instead of sharing pictures and videos circulating in Facebook posts and tweets, look for articles that explain the context instead.

Avoid speculation

 

Before sharing any piece of information, take a deep breath, and if needed, go for a short walk. (Ted S. Warren/The Associated Press)

 

No one can predict the future, no matter how smart they claim to be.

The present crisis is evolving extremely rapidly. What was true yesterday might not be true today.

Avoid sharing posts which contain speculation about what’s about to unfold. No one really knows what will happen tomorrow. Absorb information one day at a time. Follow trustworthy news sources as the crisis evolves.

Speculation — often from unqualified or untrustworthy sources — can lead to fear and panic.

Make less noise

The coronavirus worries everyone. It’s normal to want to give our opinion on social media, to try to join the conversation. On the other hand, social media feeds have a glut of COVID-19 posts from all sorts of sources. That not only causes confusion, but also leads to a type of paralysis as people ask who and what should I believe? What should I think?

Before clicking “publish,” ask yourself a few questions:

  • Is this necessary?
  • Why do I want to share this?
  • Am I propagating fear and confusion?
  • Am I helping to inform my friends?

Take a deep breath

On social media, speed can trip you up.

Before sharing a piece of information, take a deep breath. Calmly evaluate what you’re about to share. Get up and go pour yourself a cup of coffee, or take a short walk. Water your plants. Play with your pet.

Your friends — and society at large — will thank you.

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Polish president says postal voting possible for May election: media – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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WARSAW (Reuters) – Postal voting could allow Poland’s presidential elections to be held in May despite the coronavirus, President Andrzej Duda said in an interview published on Saturday, amid signs the governing coalition could split over the issue.

The nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party wants to hold elections on May 10 despite the pandemic, and has proposed legislation to introduce postal ballots to replace physical voting.

A more liberal junior coalition partner, Accord, said it was unrealistic for the election to proceed and proposed a postponement of two years.

“This solution (postal voting) was used a few days ago in Bavaria,” Duda told the Catholic daily newspaper Nasz Dziennik.

“We can also introduce this idea here … Postal voting would be something new in Poland, but the situation is unusual.”

Asked when elections should take place if not on May 10, Duda said the vote should be held when it is safe to do so.

In a sign of the party’s determination to implement postal voting, PiS on Friday replaced the head of the post office with Tomasz Zdzikot, who will leave his post as a Deputy Defense Minister.

Polish daily Rzeczpospolita quoted a source with knowledge of the matter as saying PiS wanted a trusted official as head of the post office at such a critical time.

Poland has imposed sweeping restrictions on public life to stop the spread of the virus, including closing schools, parks, forests and hotels and banning gatherings outside of more than two people, excluding families.

As of Saturday, it had reported 3,503 cases of the coronavirus and 73 deaths.

Duda criticized the European Commission in the interview for a lack of support over the pandemic.

“As a country we have not received any extra financial help from Brussels,” he said.

“You can’t see any great engagement from European institutions…concerning the activity of the European Commission, I must say it looks pretty poor,” he said.

(Reporting by Alan Charlish and Anna Koper; Editing by Ros Russell)

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Polish president says postal voting possible for May election – media – National Post

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WARSAW — Postal voting could allow Poland’s presidential elections to be held in May despite the coronavirus, President Andrzej Duda said in an interview published on Saturday, amid signs the governing coalition could split over the issue.

The nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party wants to hold elections on May 10 despite the pandemic, and has proposed legislation to introduce postal ballots to replace physical voting.

A more liberal junior coalition partner, Accord, said it was unrealistic for the election to proceed and proposed a postponement of two years.

“This solution (postal voting) was used a few days ago in Bavaria,” Duda told the Catholic daily newspaper Nasz Dziennik.

“We can also introduce this idea here … Postal voting would be something new in Poland, but the situation is unusual.”

Asked when elections should take place if not on May 10, Duda said the vote should be held when it is safe to do so.

In a sign of the party’s determination to implement postal voting, PiS on Friday replaced the head of the post office with Tomasz Zdzikot, who will leave his post as a Deputy Defence Minister.

Polish daily Rzeczpospolita quoted a source with knowledge of the matter as saying PiS wanted a trusted official as head of the post office at such a critical time.

Poland has imposed sweeping restrictions on public life to stop the spread of the virus, including closing schools, parks, forests and hotels and banning gatherings outside of more than two people, excluding families.

As of Saturday, it had reported 3,503 cases of the coronavirus and 73 deaths.

Duda criticized the European Commission in the interview for a lack of support over the pandemic.

“As a country we have not received any extra financial help from Brussels,” he said.

“You can’t see any great engagement from European institutions…concerning the activity of the European Commission, I must say it looks pretty poor,” he said.

(Reporting by Alan Charlish and Anna Koper Editing by Ros Russell)

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Bell Media radio stations back on the air in Fredericton after tower collapses – CTV News

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HALIFAX —
Radio stations owned by Bell Media were are off the air in Fredericton Friday morning.

The tower is located on Rookwood Avenue, between the Capital Winter Club and Bell Media radio headquarters. It fell behind the club’s building just before 9 a.m.

No one was injured. There doesn’t appear to be any damage to the building.

The area is secured and taped off.

The cause of the collapse is unknown, but high winds are believed to have been a factor.

Bell Media radio stations Capital FM 106.9, The Fox 105.3 and Pure Country 103.5 were off the air on the radio dial for several hours. They are now back on the air.

Bell Media also owns CTV.

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