Fake News: A Digital Pandemic






The phenomenon of fake news has always been prevalent in the Western world, as information becomes heavily distorted through word of mouth or is directly fabricated in an attempt to stir the pot for advantageous and sinister gain. Soaring social media usage has given rise to this propaganda as people’s words have little to no filter put before them ahead of being available to the masses, shining the spotlight onto fairy stories and resulting in the mass media manipulation of those who fall victim to it.

In recent media, fake news surrounding Coronavirus has spread like wildfire, without sufficient evidence of the claims. One example of this is those maliciously striving to make a profit off the insecurities and uncertainties of others by means of counterfeit Coronavirus tests, specifically in the USA. These selfishly present great danger of exposing others to contracting the virus as these devices doubtfully do as they claim. Other misleading products include, ‘drugs, medical devices or vaccines’, according to the FDA, the Food and Drug Administration committed to protecting public health. Companies selling products such as ‘teas, essential oils, tinctures and colloidal silver’ spread misinformation by claiming to have found miracle medicines that are too good to be true. They are fear mongering as a cruel trick to prey on the vulnerability of those scared to get them to drop cash on their product. Letters have been sent out by the FDA to such firms demanding them to stop, otherwise legal action may be taken.

An additional case is that of Frank Ludlow, a man in the UK who was caught selling fraudulent Covid-19 cure kits to citizens of France and the US for between fifty and two hundred dollars per kit, providing false hope to distressed families in need, when in fact the kits were found to offer ‘no medical benefit’, according to Det. Ch. Supt. Clinton Blackburn from the City of London Police. Ludlow ‘has been charged with one count of introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce’ and was sentenced to a ten month suspended sentence at Portsmouth Crown Court.

On a positive note, rumours surrounding marvel remedies are slowly but surely being debunked. Included in this is the idea that the usage of vitamin D prevents infection, based on blind belief of claims that featured in the journal Aging Clinical and Experimental Research published in May 2020. It states that ‘We have identified a potential crude association between the mean vitamin D levels in various European countries with COVID-19 cases/1M and COVID-19 mortality’. Yet this claim has been discredited by researchers from the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Oxford who ‘found no clinical evidence on vitamin D in [the prevention or treatment of] COVID-19’. This research has been further supported by other studies.

We must call for the whole population to be savvy and critical over the information which they consume. This is achievable by ensuring that such data and ‘fact’ is coming from a source which is trustworthy and reliable, not blatantly believing what we are told, such as Donald Trump permeating radical and idiotic ideas of internal ‘cleaning’ by the injection of ‘disinfectant’. Such examples are simply microcosms of the macrocosm of the world, taking advantage of the hysteria.

By Isabel Hubbard

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