COVID-19: UN Launches New Initiative To Fight Misinformation
A new UN initiative aims to push back against the tide of lies and hate that has risen in tandem with the COVID-19 pandemic, by empowering people worldwide to share accurate information to help save lives and promote global solidarity.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Thursday launched Verified, which will create a cadre of “digital first responders” to increase the volume and reach of trusted, accurate information surrounding the crisis.
“We cannot cede our virtual spaces to those who traffic in lies, fear and hate”, the UN chief said.
“Misinformation spreads online, in messaging apps and person to person. Its creators use savvy production and distribution methods. To counter it, scientists and institutions like the United Nations need to reach people with accurate information they can trust.”
Under Verified, information will be provided around three themes: science – to save lives; solidarity – to promote local and global cooperation; and solutions – to advocate for support for populations that have been impacted by COVID-19.
The initiative will also promote recovery packages that tackle the climate crisis and address the root causes of poverty, inequality and hunger.
People across the world are encouraged to sign up as “information volunteers” with Verified, to share trusted content to keep their families and communities safe and connected.
The volunteers – described as “digital first responders” – will receive a daily feed of verified content that will be optimized for sharing on social media platforms, containing simple yet compelling messaging that either directly counters misinformation with facts, or fills in any gaps.
Verified will partner with UN agencies and others, including influencers, civil society, business and media organizations, to distribute trusted, accurate content, while also working with social media platforms to root out hate and harmful information about COVID-19.