How to fact-check COVID-19 info on social media

Coronavirus Updates

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – COVID-19 has dominated the news and social media for weeks now. All of this information can feel overwhelming; here is a little help from the pros on how to make sure what you’re seeing is real and accurate. 

Dr. Todd Vento is a physician at Intermountain Healthcare; he says even he find it hard sometimes to manage the massive volume of information coming at him. He recommends starting with where you are physically: your county website. “Get oriented with what’s around you first and then get the bigger picture in the nation and the world.”

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He says posts oversimplifying this virus can be misleading. “It’s tempting to want to compare, but this virus is obviously different than those [in the past] in what it does to people and in what it does to a community and how it spreads.” Always choose reliable sources like those listed below. 

When it comes to choosing a news source, Dr. Vento recommends reading multiple. 

Adam Durfee runs the Y Digital Agency at BYU; he says the sheer volume of conversation online about COVID-19 makes it impossible to police, “We’ve had more than 600 million posts about COVID-19 and coronavirus in just the past few months.”

He says always start with common sense, “The most important thing to do before you share or comment is to take a step back and think; does this make sense.”

Some red flags for faulty information, posts that demand you copy and past for your safety or privacy, and posts of text that are actually screen shots or photos. 

Durfee says, “Simply be aware, even if it comes via text, doesn’t mean it’s accurate. Always double check facts before we send them.”

We promise, it’s okay to fact-check your friends; they might even thank you for it. 

Valuable resources: 

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