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Blocking COVID-19 Infodemic
입력 2020.12.11 (15:09) 수정 2020.12.11 (16:46) News Today
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The COVID-19 infodemic is as scary as the virus itself. An infodemic is a phenomenon when false information spreads like an infectious disease.

[Soundbite]
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (WHO Director-General)

[Soundbite]
Sohn Ae-Ree (Professor, Sahmyook University): False information spreads via media almost instantaneously. Restricting it can be a challenge. It can result in a social collapse.

Fake news about COVID-19 thrives on people’s anxiety. How can this infodemic be prevented? A British Youtuber says the cause of the COVID-19 pandemic lies in 5G technology, while an American TV show host claims that a so-called “Silver Solution” is effective in treating the coronavirus. In India, where cows are regarded as sacred animals, people bathe in cow dung believing it helps prevent COVID-19. In Iran, some 500 people died after drinking industrial alcohol to kill the virus.

[Soundbite]
Sohn Ae-ree (Professor, Sahmyook University): It’s clear from people who believe in superstitions. They don’t think it’s false information. Believing in wrong things is what their faith is about. Their behavior is based on their belief in fake news.

Fake news about Covid-19 is spreading fast.

[Soundbite]
Lee Heon-jong (Incheon resident): I heard drinking plenty of water helps wash down the virus.

[Soundbite]
Jeon Shin-koo (Seoul resident): Someone in an online chat said there is a special necklace that can prevent viruses.

[Soundbite]
(YouTube medical show (Voice altered)): Curry contains a medicinal substance called turmeric. It can prevent and even cure COVID-19.

[Soundbite]
Kim Woo-joo (Professor, Korea University Guro Hospital): It’s all groundless. COVID-19 enters the body through the nose and throat and survives on the mucosa of the respiratory organs. Rinsing the mouth is not enough to kill the coronavirus inside the cells.

False information about COVID-19 makes people’s anxiety worse.

[Soundbite]
Kim Eon-kyung (Citizens’ Coalition for Democratic Media): Many people read information about COVID-19 because they want to know more about it and feel anxious. COVID-19 has affected people’s livelihoods. When misinformation about it spreads, the whole country becomes terrified. It’s extremely dangerous.

Kim Soo-min recently lost his job.

[Soundbite]
Kim Soo-min (Anxious because of fake news about COVID-19): I worked at a bar, which means working late at night. When social distancing was raised to Level 2, our bar had to close at 9 p.m. I had no choice but to quit my job.

This young man can’t make a living anymore due to Covid-19. All he’s concerned about these days are novel viruses.

[Soundbite]
Kim Soo-min (Anxious because of fake news about COVID-19): I used to pay little attention to such information. But as daily cases rose to the hundreds, I realized it could be also be me. I began to look up the news about the coronavirus. Then I lost my job, and some people I know contracted the virus. It made me more worried that I might also catch it. These days I read the news about COVID-19 on a daily basis.

As COVID-19 has been spreading rampantly, Soo-min became interested in its prevention. He’s taking a supplement that’s said to be effective in preventing the coronavirus.

[Soundbite]
Kim Soo-min (Anxious because of fake news about COVID-19): It’s cabbage juice. I used to drink it before because it helps boost the immune system. Recently I read that U.S. President Trump benefited a lot from drinking cabbage juice after contracting COVID-19. So now I drink at least three packs a day. I eat nuts because it’s important to keep the immune system strong. I drink hot water to disinfect my mouth and kill bacteria. I also used to rinse my mouth with salt water.

The barrage of information about COVID-19 has caused a lot of confusion.

[Soundbite]
Kim Soo-min (Anxious because of fake news about COVID-19): There is a lot of information online, and not all of it is credible. It should be filtered out. As someone who has sustained damage due to COVID-19, I’m not sure which information to trust. But with so many people in my neighborhood catching the virus, I feel anxious, as negative tests can become positive and vice versa.

[Soundbite]
Hong Yun-chul (Seoul National University Professor, WHO policy advisor): If people believe misinformation, the correct guidelines can become useless and the disease can spread further.

[Soundbite]
Ten more people tested positive at Grace River Church in Seongnam, where parishioners were sprinkled with salt water to prevent COVID-19. So far total cases have reached 64.

Korea is also suffering damage caused by fake news regarding the coronavirus. A local church sprinkled the hands and mouths of some 100 parishioners with salt water, believing it would help prevent COVID-19. This resulted in a mass cluster outbreak.

[Soundbite]
Lee Hee-young (Gyeonggi-do Province COVID-19 Taskforce): One of the parishioners attending the mass was infected. That person was also sprinkled with salt water, and the same sprinkler was used on other people without disinfecting it. Because the parishioners opened their mouths in the sprinkling process, it was tantamount to direct contact with the infected person.

Recklessly circulating misinformation can cause serious damage. One restaurant almost went out of business after fake news about an infected customer spread around.

[Soundbite]
Jeon Young-hoon (Former Incheon National University Professor): Fake news spreads much faster nowadays. Many people access it and pass it on to others. Damage caused by fake news in recent years has grown beyond comparison.

[Soundbite]
Fake news and leaked personal information are circulating rampantly amid the pandemic. Police have vowed to ferret out and investigate not only those who spread false information in the first place, but also those who pass it on to others.

Not so long ago, police pledged to punish those who spread fake news.

[Soundbite]
Lee Myung-won (National Police Agency): As of Nov. 24 we had detained 269 people involved in 170 fake news cases. We are investigating 94 of them.

There are three types of fake news. The first is the obstruction of business by damaging the reputation of a certain organization or institution by mentioning their name. The second is libel, where false information is spread to defame an individual. The third is obstructing the government’s quarantine efforts through messages that fuel anxiety and fear.

[Soundbite]
Lee Myung-won (National Police Agency): Few people think that spreading fake news is a serious crime. This results in a waste of investigative resources, and it’s hard to find out who spread the rumor in the first place. I hope people will stop creating and distributing fake news out of curiosity.

As damage caused by false information continues to grow, scientific organizations and the media have created websites where the public can check the authenticity of various treatments and prevention methods. Their goal is to prevent the spread of the infodemic by blocking misinformation and promoting facts.

[Soundbite]
Sohn Ae-ree (Professor, Sahmyook University): I think Korea did a great job this time. During the MERS outbreak the government failed to disclose information promptly, resulting in public distrust. That’s why the Crisis Communication Taskforce was set up
at the Disease Control Headquarters. Now it is called the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency. Its Infectious Disease Crisis Response Team is in charge of communication. The current government was quick to create a website on COVID-19 to provide accurate information to the public on infections and infected people’s movements. This helped the government earn people’s trust.

Since the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Korea, the government has been holding daily briefings to disclose information about infections and response measures with full transparency. Fact-checking provided at daily briefings also helps reduce public anxiety often caused by rumours swirling online. Private businesses have also joined the effort to block misinformation. Employees at this online ratings company are busy picking out fake news about COVID-19.

[Soundbite]
Kim Ho-jin (CEO of online ratings company): Like other companies, we’ve also seen our business slow down due to COVID-19. Our employees had nothing to do. But rather than wasting time, we wanted to do something useful. That’s how we began to delete fake news about COVID-19.

So how is fake news regarding the coronavirus detected and deleted?

[Soundbite]
Kim Dong-yeon (Staff at online ratings company): Before deleting fake news, we do fact-checking. We collect key words based on the news confirmed to be true by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency. We use them to search the news and compile a list of false information, and then request for their deletion.

The authenticity of news is determined by information provided by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency. When a key word about presumably false information is entered, big data technology produces a list of distorted information. Then media outlets that published the false information are contacted by phone or email and asked to delete the post in question.

[Soundbite]
Kim Ho-jin (CEO of online ratings company): In late February we found 3,500 cases of fake news. Recently we found about 1,500 cases. We usually request the deletion of 70 to 80 percent of fake news. About 50 to 60 percent of that is erased right away, while the rest has to be deleted on multiple occasions. When we request the deletion of information on bulletin boards or blogs, it’s completely deleted. There may be confusion before treatments or vaccines are developed. When a vaccine is developed, all kinds of misinformation will be posted. We are preparing for that.

Fake news has a negative impact on a wide range of areas, such as politics, economy, society and culture. How can we protect ourselves from misinformation?

[Soundbite]
Sohn Ae-ree (Professor, Sahmyook University): When you obtain information via social media, it’s important to check if its source is credible enough. If you don’t know the source, find out who wrote and distributed that information. Do not share information unless you know for sure it’s trustworthy. One of the ways to confirm its authenticity is by looking it up on various credible media sources.

[Soundbite]
Koo Jeong-woo (Professor, Sungkyunkwan University): When there is no panic, people can better distinguish facts from rumors. But in turbulent times like these, it’s difficult to find out if it’s true or not. It’s important to react slowly to information and take it with a grain of salt.

The COVID-19 infodemic is the result of the rampantly spreading novel coronavirus. It thrives on people’s fear and anxiety. To curb the spread and alleviate those fears, honesty and facts are needed now more than ever.
  • Blocking COVID-19 Infodemic
    • 입력 2020-12-11 15:09:27
    • 수정2020-12-11 16:46:13
    News Today
The COVID-19 infodemic is as scary as the virus itself. An infodemic is a phenomenon when false information spreads like an infectious disease.

[Soundbite]
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (WHO Director-General)

[Soundbite]
Sohn Ae-Ree (Professor, Sahmyook University): False information spreads via media almost instantaneously. Restricting it can be a challenge. It can result in a social collapse.

Fake news about COVID-19 thrives on people’s anxiety. How can this infodemic be prevented? A British Youtuber says the cause of the COVID-19 pandemic lies in 5G technology, while an American TV show host claims that a so-called “Silver Solution” is effective in treating the coronavirus. In India, where cows are regarded as sacred animals, people bathe in cow dung believing it helps prevent COVID-19. In Iran, some 500 people died after drinking industrial alcohol to kill the virus.

[Soundbite]
Sohn Ae-ree (Professor, Sahmyook University): It’s clear from people who believe in superstitions. They don’t think it’s false information. Believing in wrong things is what their faith is about. Their behavior is based on their belief in fake news.

Fake news about Covid-19 is spreading fast.

[Soundbite]
Lee Heon-jong (Incheon resident): I heard drinking plenty of water helps wash down the virus.

[Soundbite]
Jeon Shin-koo (Seoul resident): Someone in an online chat said there is a special necklace that can prevent viruses.

[Soundbite]
(YouTube medical show (Voice altered)): Curry contains a medicinal substance called turmeric. It can prevent and even cure COVID-19.

[Soundbite]
Kim Woo-joo (Professor, Korea University Guro Hospital): It’s all groundless. COVID-19 enters the body through the nose and throat and survives on the mucosa of the respiratory organs. Rinsing the mouth is not enough to kill the coronavirus inside the cells.

False information about COVID-19 makes people’s anxiety worse.

[Soundbite]
Kim Eon-kyung (Citizens’ Coalition for Democratic Media): Many people read information about COVID-19 because they want to know more about it and feel anxious. COVID-19 has affected people’s livelihoods. When misinformation about it spreads, the whole country becomes terrified. It’s extremely dangerous.

Kim Soo-min recently lost his job.

[Soundbite]
Kim Soo-min (Anxious because of fake news about COVID-19): I worked at a bar, which means working late at night. When social distancing was raised to Level 2, our bar had to close at 9 p.m. I had no choice but to quit my job.

This young man can’t make a living anymore due to Covid-19. All he’s concerned about these days are novel viruses.

[Soundbite]
Kim Soo-min (Anxious because of fake news about COVID-19): I used to pay little attention to such information. But as daily cases rose to the hundreds, I realized it could be also be me. I began to look up the news about the coronavirus. Then I lost my job, and some people I know contracted the virus. It made me more worried that I might also catch it. These days I read the news about COVID-19 on a daily basis.

As COVID-19 has been spreading rampantly, Soo-min became interested in its prevention. He’s taking a supplement that’s said to be effective in preventing the coronavirus.

[Soundbite]
Kim Soo-min (Anxious because of fake news about COVID-19): It’s cabbage juice. I used to drink it before because it helps boost the immune system. Recently I read that U.S. President Trump benefited a lot from drinking cabbage juice after contracting COVID-19. So now I drink at least three packs a day. I eat nuts because it’s important to keep the immune system strong. I drink hot water to disinfect my mouth and kill bacteria. I also used to rinse my mouth with salt water.

The barrage of information about COVID-19 has caused a lot of confusion.

[Soundbite]
Kim Soo-min (Anxious because of fake news about COVID-19): There is a lot of information online, and not all of it is credible. It should be filtered out. As someone who has sustained damage due to COVID-19, I’m not sure which information to trust. But with so many people in my neighborhood catching the virus, I feel anxious, as negative tests can become positive and vice versa.

[Soundbite]
Hong Yun-chul (Seoul National University Professor, WHO policy advisor): If people believe misinformation, the correct guidelines can become useless and the disease can spread further.

[Soundbite]
Ten more people tested positive at Grace River Church in Seongnam, where parishioners were sprinkled with salt water to prevent COVID-19. So far total cases have reached 64.

Korea is also suffering damage caused by fake news regarding the coronavirus. A local church sprinkled the hands and mouths of some 100 parishioners with salt water, believing it would help prevent COVID-19. This resulted in a mass cluster outbreak.

[Soundbite]
Lee Hee-young (Gyeonggi-do Province COVID-19 Taskforce): One of the parishioners attending the mass was infected. That person was also sprinkled with salt water, and the same sprinkler was used on other people without disinfecting it. Because the parishioners opened their mouths in the sprinkling process, it was tantamount to direct contact with the infected person.

Recklessly circulating misinformation can cause serious damage. One restaurant almost went out of business after fake news about an infected customer spread around.

[Soundbite]
Jeon Young-hoon (Former Incheon National University Professor): Fake news spreads much faster nowadays. Many people access it and pass it on to others. Damage caused by fake news in recent years has grown beyond comparison.

[Soundbite]
Fake news and leaked personal information are circulating rampantly amid the pandemic. Police have vowed to ferret out and investigate not only those who spread false information in the first place, but also those who pass it on to others.

Not so long ago, police pledged to punish those who spread fake news.

[Soundbite]
Lee Myung-won (National Police Agency): As of Nov. 24 we had detained 269 people involved in 170 fake news cases. We are investigating 94 of them.

There are three types of fake news. The first is the obstruction of business by damaging the reputation of a certain organization or institution by mentioning their name. The second is libel, where false information is spread to defame an individual. The third is obstructing the government’s quarantine efforts through messages that fuel anxiety and fear.

[Soundbite]
Lee Myung-won (National Police Agency): Few people think that spreading fake news is a serious crime. This results in a waste of investigative resources, and it’s hard to find out who spread the rumor in the first place. I hope people will stop creating and distributing fake news out of curiosity.

As damage caused by false information continues to grow, scientific organizations and the media have created websites where the public can check the authenticity of various treatments and prevention methods. Their goal is to prevent the spread of the infodemic by blocking misinformation and promoting facts.

[Soundbite]
Sohn Ae-ree (Professor, Sahmyook University): I think Korea did a great job this time. During the MERS outbreak the government failed to disclose information promptly, resulting in public distrust. That’s why the Crisis Communication Taskforce was set up
at the Disease Control Headquarters. Now it is called the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency. Its Infectious Disease Crisis Response Team is in charge of communication. The current government was quick to create a website on COVID-19 to provide accurate information to the public on infections and infected people’s movements. This helped the government earn people’s trust.

Since the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Korea, the government has been holding daily briefings to disclose information about infections and response measures with full transparency. Fact-checking provided at daily briefings also helps reduce public anxiety often caused by rumours swirling online. Private businesses have also joined the effort to block misinformation. Employees at this online ratings company are busy picking out fake news about COVID-19.

[Soundbite]
Kim Ho-jin (CEO of online ratings company): Like other companies, we’ve also seen our business slow down due to COVID-19. Our employees had nothing to do. But rather than wasting time, we wanted to do something useful. That’s how we began to delete fake news about COVID-19.

So how is fake news regarding the coronavirus detected and deleted?

[Soundbite]
Kim Dong-yeon (Staff at online ratings company): Before deleting fake news, we do fact-checking. We collect key words based on the news confirmed to be true by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency. We use them to search the news and compile a list of false information, and then request for their deletion.

The authenticity of news is determined by information provided by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency. When a key word about presumably false information is entered, big data technology produces a list of distorted information. Then media outlets that published the false information are contacted by phone or email and asked to delete the post in question.

[Soundbite]
Kim Ho-jin (CEO of online ratings company): In late February we found 3,500 cases of fake news. Recently we found about 1,500 cases. We usually request the deletion of 70 to 80 percent of fake news. About 50 to 60 percent of that is erased right away, while the rest has to be deleted on multiple occasions. When we request the deletion of information on bulletin boards or blogs, it’s completely deleted. There may be confusion before treatments or vaccines are developed. When a vaccine is developed, all kinds of misinformation will be posted. We are preparing for that.

Fake news has a negative impact on a wide range of areas, such as politics, economy, society and culture. How can we protect ourselves from misinformation?

[Soundbite]
Sohn Ae-ree (Professor, Sahmyook University): When you obtain information via social media, it’s important to check if its source is credible enough. If you don’t know the source, find out who wrote and distributed that information. Do not share information unless you know for sure it’s trustworthy. One of the ways to confirm its authenticity is by looking it up on various credible media sources.

[Soundbite]
Koo Jeong-woo (Professor, Sungkyunkwan University): When there is no panic, people can better distinguish facts from rumors. But in turbulent times like these, it’s difficult to find out if it’s true or not. It’s important to react slowly to information and take it with a grain of salt.

The COVID-19 infodemic is the result of the rampantly spreading novel coronavirus. It thrives on people’s fear and anxiety. To curb the spread and alleviate those fears, honesty and facts are needed now more than ever.

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