Australians fear COVID-19 misinformation threat

Australians are afraid that unchecked and false information online could upset the country’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts and want to be more transparent about the scope of the problem.

Reset Australia, an affiliate of a global initiative working to combat digital threats to democracy, has commissioned a YouGov poll to establish a level of Australian concern about false alarms on vaccines.

The results are overwhelming-85% of respondents agreed that misleading claims about the COVID-19 vaccine on social media discouraged Australian vaccination. Meanwhile, 65% of those surveyed want to be more transparent from social media platforms about the degree of misinformation.

“You can’t start planning a vaccine deployment without addressing the false information about the vaccine online,” said Chris Cooper, executive director of Reset Australia.

“During the pandemic, false information about COVID-19 was amplified by social media algorithms, but public health officials had little visibility into the extent of the problem due to the online echo chamber,” he says. ..

“Social media is supercharging conspiracy theories and false information, pushing some of us into the echo chamber where only false information is displayed. The algorithm amplifies the most sensational or conspiracy content. It keeps us involved and online longer, but it is often not factual or accurate information. “Cooper explains.

“We all know that the wrong information is there, but we can’t get a bird’s eye view of the scale of the problem. Only the platform does, so the most shared content about COVID-19. You need to force it to list. “He says.

Reset Australia has a live list campaign. This requires the digital platform to maintain a list of the most viral URLs shared on the platform.

This list can be used by public health authorities, journalists, and scholars to effectively track and track false information online and better target public health messages.

“Australian authorities and Australians should be able to answer questions such as what content is amplified by these platforms, who created it, and what demographics are consuming it.” Says Cooper.

“To do that, we need a live list of the most controversial issues facing our society, so that we can begin to tackle false information collectively and transparently.” He says.

“Technology giants have created platforms that generate both huge profits and serious social problems. If they accept profits, they must also accept surveillance,” Cooper adds.

Reset Australia says a poll was conducted in mid-December this year.

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