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JULIE POSETTI AND KALINA BONTCHEVA
COVID-19 has spawned a flood of potentially deadly mis- and disinformation that directly impacts lives and livelihoods around the world. UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres has described this as a “poison,” and humanity’s other new “enemy.”
What is the disinfodemic?
The term we have adopted to describe the falsehoods fuelling the pandemic is disinfodemic because of the huge viral load of potentially deadly disinformation. The disinfodemic often hides falsehoods amidst true information, and conceals itself in the clothes of familiar formats. It resorts to well-known distribution methods ranging from false or misleading memes and fake sources, through to trapping people into clicking on links connected to criminal phishing expeditions. It can be shared by individuals, organized groups, news media and official channels — either wittingly or unwittingly.