Online Article

The health crisis: Fertile ground for disinformation

This guest post hosted on the UNESCO website provides historical context for the dissemination of misinformation and disinformation on the African content, highlighting the spread of conspiracy theories around COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccines as well as during the 2014 Ebola outbreak. The author notes the proliferation of false information online through social media and apps like Facebook, Messenger, and WhatsApp, and the promising emergence of new resources to stem the spread of misinformation. These include Africa Check, Africa’s first independent, nonprofit, fact-checking organization; the UN initiative Verified, a global campaign which will create a cadre of “digital first responders” to share compelling, clear and accurate information about the crisis and raise awareness about the risks of misinformation; and Wa FM, an internet radio station set up in March 2020 to fight fake news on COVID-19 in Côte d’Ivoire broadcast primarily via WhatsApp.