The idea of infodemic management had been percolating within the World Health Organization (WHO) long before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. But as the amount of information—and misinformation—about the novel coronavirus began to swell rapidly in January, the Infodemic Management group became immediately operational.
An infodemic designates an uncontrollable proliferation of information, such that it is difficult to identify real facts and solutions. In our current infodemic, myths, conspiracy theories, scams, armchair epidemiologists, and Twitter scientists abound online and in the media.
“We’re not just fighting an epidemic; we’re fighting an infodemic,” the WHO Director General warned in an address to the Munich Security Council on February 15, 2020. “Fake news spreads faster and more easily than this virus, and is just as dangerous.”