The modern media ecosystem in which the public seeks truthful information and trustworthy sources is increasingly dominated by large-scale online social media and communication platforms (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) as well as messaging apps, which operate alongside traditional news sources. However, at the same time, this hybrid ecosystem is plagued with people’s lack of trust in both content and sources, harassment and hate speech, as well as misinformation and deliberate efforts to spread disinformation.
The quest to improve the online media ecosystem remains extremely important and is in need of concerted research efforts; now more than ever, as the world battles the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, the world is in two battles at once: one against the pandemic and another one against the first global infodemic. The latter is ranked second in terms of importance on the list of World Health Organisation’s focus areas, with dangers ranging from promoting fake cures, rumours and conspiracy theories, to disinformation and panic.