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Public health, governments should do more to combat COVID misinformation: UW review

Researchers at the University of Waterloo looked at 81 published articles from around the world, examining social media during the pandemic
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It's been a common problem through the pandemic: the spread of misinformation on social media.

And in the midst of the pandemic, the right information has never been more valuable.

Researchers at the University of Waterloo looked at 81 published articles around the world, examining social media during the pandemic.

"We wanted to really know what information is out there about COVID-19," said Zahid Butt, associate professor in the School of Public Health and Health Systems at UW.

"A lot of these studies saw that a lot of the information that was out there was not correct."

Butt said of note, there was false information out there, as well as unchecked conspiracy theories.

He said governments and public health organizations need to be on social media more, in an active role to help stop the spread of misinformation.

And it's not just about posting updates, resources and fact checking people, there has to be a connection.

"They have to know how to come on social media and connect with the people that are on social media," he said, "Especially the younger population."

We can do our part too, Butt added.

That's as simple as fact checking information, doing research and using reliable websites and resources.

The findings were published in a review in The Lancet Digital Health.

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