CMU Researchers Share Advice for Spotting Fake COVID-19 News

As fake news about COVID-19 appears on social media, CMU offers guidance on fact-checking and exposing misinformation.


While hitting the like button may feel insignificant to many, Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for Informed Democracy and Social Cybersecurity (IDeaS) is urging people to read deeper into what they share during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

According to the center, false information is being shared across various social media platforms by bots and users unaware that the content they are sharing is inaccurate, causing false information to spread rapidly. 

The largest groups of disinformation include: cures or prevention measures for the virus, inaccuracies about the nature of the virus and rumors about the disease being weaponized or bioengineered. Supposed “cures” are the most widespread falsehoods, often suggesting potential dangerous methods such as steroid use or gargling bleach.

“It is easy to confuse satire with disinformation,” Kathleen Carley, the director of IDeaS, said in a statement. “The same story, ‘drink bleach to cure coronavirus,’ may be viewed as funny and obvious satire by one person and as truth by another. Spreading such satire because you think it is funny can be as destructive as spreading inaccurate information that you think is true.”

Carley recommends visiting the websites for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) for the most accurate information on COVID-19. Additionally, it’s important to remember that a popular story isn’t necessarily true and calling out misinformation can help prevent its spread. 

Categories: The 412