The word “infodemic” is used to describe a situation where there is an abundance of misinformation and lack of evidence about a certain issue. This situation makes it difficult for the public to find reliable information. The overwhelming flood of information often leads to misunderstanding and misinterpretation, making it difficult for people to take action and make decisions. The World Health Organization has developed the term infodemic to describe such a situation.
The term “infodemic” was coined by David Rothkopf in a Washington Post article published during the SARS outbreak. He argued that by spreading rumours and fake news, an infodemic made it even more difficult for the government to contain the epidemic. The information-based chaos and misinformation created by infodemics threatens not only the health of people but the economy, politics, and social relations. As such, tackling an infodemic is an essential part of any disease response strategy.
The UN system
The UN system is already responding to the infodemic, using its collective knowledge and expertise to fight the problem. However, the threat of misinformation is still present. As a result, more coordinated and stronger action is needed to fight this global epidemic. The UN and civil society organizations must collaborate with each other to develop action plans to tackle the problem. Member States should promote the spread of accurate information to their communities and protect freedom of expression. But in addition, they must also develop their own visual metaphors to combat the misinformation.