It's more effective for authoritative figures to present accurate facts early and routinely alongside misinformation, rather than trying to negate misinformation after-the-fact, according to conversations with experts.
Why it matters: Research provides a roadmap for more effective and efficient management of the coronavirus "infodemic" by health experts, government officials internet platforms and news companies.
1) Proactive messaging: Gaps in the public's background knowledge about common sense flu cures, like whether vitamin C prevents viruses, show "ongoing need for effective communication of needed information long before a crisis," according to research from Kathleen Hall Jamieson of Annenberg Public Policy Center and FactCheck.org.
2) Pre-bunking: People who made aware of the flawed reasoning found in conspiracy theories, they may become less vulnerable to such theories, says psychologist and professor Stephan Lewandowsky.
3) Label misinformation at the source level: It's better to rate the sources of misinformation that are repeat offenders, like certain websites or authors, rather than pieces of content themselves, argue Steven Brill and Gordon Crovitz of NewsGuard.
4. Go where fake news spreads: It's not effective for health care officials to spread context in venues where people generally don't receive misinformation.
5. The 10% rule: Some experts say it's better to wait until a piece of misinformation reaches a 10% penetration level amongst the population before it's debunked, otherwise, you risk unintentionally spreading the rumor.
The big picture: When society began to seriously reckon with "fake news" and misinformation after the 2016 election, there were may efforts to impose binary solutions by identifying information as being true or false, and blocking or removing it accordingly. Experts say this is problematic.