/ David Shaw

Ten simple rules to fight fake news during the Coronavirus pandemic

"Coronavirus and our duty to fight fake news: 10 simple rules", a new contribution to the Journal of Medical Ethics Blog by Dr. David Shaw.

"Arsonists in the UK have attacked at least 40 mobile phone masts in recent weeks because they believe that they spread coronavirus. This sounds ridiculous, but it is deadly serious. The latest fire affected the mast at the new Nightingale hospital built for virus patients in Birmingham, putting important communication channels at risk. As the head of a UK phone company put it, “It’s heart-rending enough that families cannot be there at the bedside of loved ones who are critically ill. It’s even more upsetting that even the small solace of a phone or video call may now be denied them because of the selfish actions of a few deluded conspiracy theorists.”

Why did these people believe this particular theory? Because of fake news circulating on Whatsapp and other social media. The last thing we need when dealing with a novel coronavirus is conspiracy theories, yet thanks to a few foolish citizens, these and other misinformation are going viral on social media (pun intended), spreading deceit and sowing uncertainty through the population at a time when people are already experiencing great stress. In this blog I explore how we can all do our bit to help fight back against fake news."

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