MANILA, Philippines – At least 48 fact-checking organizations worldwide are collaborating to debunk false information shared online about the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Rappler is taking part in the initiative.
The International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) launched the collaborative project on Friday, January 24.
So far, the 3 biggest trends of misinformation and disinformation that have spread online are:
"The collaborative project, coordinated by the IFCN, will be active for as long as the disease spreads worldwide and can be followed on social media channels through two hashtags, #CoronaVirusFacts and #DatosCoronaVirus," IFCN associate director Cristina Tardáguila wrote in her article published on Poynter on Tuesday, January 28.
Following this, the Taiwan Fact-Check Center then debunked several posts about ways to protect people from the virus, as well as methods to cure the ones who have contracted it. Since Taiwan is geographically close to China, this "second wave of falsehoods" became big there, IFCN said.
The "third wave of hoaxes" was about the sources of the novel coronavirus. Although there are studies that suggest bats and snakes play a role in the outbreak, the origin hasn't been confirmed yet as of posting.
"In the next few days, an interesting subject should pop up: Will the anti-vaccination movement try to take any advantage out of this? Brazilian fact-checking unit Agência Lupa is keeping track of that," Tardáguila added.
So far, the false claims that circulated nationwide were mostly about "confirmed cases" of the 2019-nCoV in the country. There was also a claim that wrongly associated the novel coronavirus with rabies, which may cause confusion about the nature and classification of the new illness.
Rappler's fact checks on the 2019-nCoV: