September 28, 2021

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The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

India world’s biggest Covid misinformation source: Study

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India world’s biggest Covid misinformation source: Study
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India world’s biggest Covid misinformation source: Study
India world’s biggest Covid misinformation source: Study

The Covid-19 vaccine does not generate magnetic properties in the human body. Lemon juice up the nose won’t kill the coronavirus. Nor will keeping bundles of cloves, cardamom, camphor and mace in the pocket. Over a year and a half into the pandemic, India has emerged as the biggest source of Covid misinformation, with 1 in 6 pieces of fake information coming out of the country, a new study has found.
The study in Sage’s ‘International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions’ journal, by a researcher from the University of Alberta in Canada, went over 9,657 pieces of misinformation in 138 countries. It included non-English content and covered the period from January 1 last year to March 1 this year. “The data used in this study are collected from the (Poynter’s International Fact-Checking Network) IFCN website, which currently has the most comprehensive COVID-19 misinformation data collected from all over the world,” the author, Dr Md Sayeed Al-Zaman, told

TOI

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The study found social media is the biggest producer of misinformation, accounting for 85% of it. Internet-based sources make up 91% of all Covid fake news. Among countries, India is the biggest source (18%), followed by Brazil (9%) and the USA (8.6%). The amount of misinformation is also the highest in India, at 16%, followed by the USA (9.7%) and Brazil (8.6%).
“Since there are limited empirical studies on this issue, the reasons can only be presumed now. I suspect that the weak information and communication infrastructure, less (digital) information literacy and information awareness among the people, and living prejudices in the Indian society could be the prime reasons for higher Covid-19 misinformation in India,” Al-Zaman said.
It is also possible that the spread of misinformation is associated with how bad the pandemic is in a country. “It seems that misinformation in the top countries is somewhat consistent with the number of casualties they have experienced during the pandemic … For example, in both the lists of Covid-19 misinformation and Covid-19 casualties, the following 10 countries are common among the top 15: India, the USA, Brazil, Spain, France, Turkey, Colombia, Argentina, Italy and Mexico,” the paper said.
The misinformation peaks also appear to hint at a link. “Most of the countries, including India, the USA, Brazil and Spain, experienced a surge in misinformation in March and July 2020. However, a few countries, such as Georgia, experienced a surge from September to December 2020. Both the aggregated and country-wise misinformation counts hint that the prevalence of misinformation could be consistent with the number of casualties … Since the present study was unable to establish this correlation, more empirical research is needed to explain this presumption.”
That is what classical studies on misinformation and rumours say. “…Misleading information surges when a crisis first appears, people become nervous or frightened, and reliable information is not readily available or cannot be provided,” Al-Zaman said. “Recent studies also found that the prevalence of misinformation reduces during the pandemic with time and higher consumption of reliable media content.”
He observed that misinformation peaked in March 2020 globally and started dropping gradually. The paper added, “However, a forecast shows that the number may likely increase and remain at 955 pieces of misinformation on average in March–September 2021.”

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