In connection with the pandemic due to the new coronavirus, another epidemic of infox, or false information circulating on the social networks of the continent aimed at maintaining the psychosis around the virus, is on the rise.
Why is there more false information, fake news, at the moment, thanks to the coronavirus?
We are in a context of a pandemic where people have difficulty accessing updated information in real time. We do not really know how the disease progresses, which allows other information which is false, which circulates more easily, to be shared more easily than official information. This makes information that is bogus so viral, because it is the information that circulates the most easily. The difficulty lies in the fact that the false information circulates at such a speed that, by the time to do the research, to find the answer and to publish an article which denies, it has already almost circulated the planet.
How to stem this silent pandemic of infox?
Much of the population in Africa is uneducated. It cannot therefore follow the information in French and receives numerous infoxes in their languages. So one of the difficulties, if we want to fight infox, is knowing how to reach this segment of the population which is very connected, especially on WhatsApp.
In addition, the democratization of official information, regular communication in local languages, the tightening of the application of the digital code will hamper the circulation of infox.
What attitudes to adopt so as not to fall into the trap of false information?
When you receive a message, the first question to ask yourself is: “Where did this come from? ". Always ask the question to the person sending you the WhatsApp message. If it's a video: do you know where it came from? And try to see what she will tell you. The other thing: try to see if the mainstream media is talking about it. It would be surprising if serious information was not relayed by conventional media. But really, ask yourself the questions. Simple but effective question, you should always ask the person sending it to you if they know the origin of the message.