The prevalence of disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic has prompted Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) to warn that: “We’re not just fighting an epidemic; we’re fighting an infodemic.”
The infodemic is defined as an overabundance of information, some accurate and some not, during an epidemic. It makes it hard for people to know which sources are trustworthy and reliable. Part of the problem is the widespread occurrence of misinformation.
To fight this infodemic, we need to understand how misinformation spreads in particular host environments. This requires a study of culture, context and lived experience of media users.
To contain and mitigate the virus of misinformation we need multi-levelled, socio-cultural approaches and methods. One such tool of analysis available in the media and cultural literature is the classic concept of the “circuit of culture”.