March 25, 2020

As the coronavirus spreads, Americans have to flatten the misinformation curve too

By Megan Lamberth and Chris Estep

Overnight, Americans have become all too familiar with the call to "flatten the curve" by taking precautionary measures to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19). Fulfilling individual responsibilities in this unprecedented crisis, however, requires more than social distancing and physical isolation.

Digital interactions on social media platforms are increasing, as people's physical interactions are primarily restricted. With so many users seeking and sharing information online, the spread of misinformation about the pandemic can overwhelm social platforms, impede the government's response, and enable bad actors online. Every American must therefore do their part to flatten the misinformation curve.

Anyone can be a carrier of harmful misinformation. Because of this risk, members of the public must devote increased diligence to ensure that the information they share on social media and elsewhere is authentic and contextualized. This responsibility goes beyond merely improved "digital literacy." All Americans must embrace an attitude of "digital citizenship," treating online communications with the same level of scrutiny as in-person interactions.

Read the full article in Business Insider.

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