Health Literacy Against Misinformation and Infodemic Spreadin Social Media During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: The Lie Epidemic Caused by Misinformation

Health Literacy Against Misinformation and Infodemic Spreadin Social Media During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: The Lie Epidemic Caused by Misinformation

Zeynep Biricik (Atatürk University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-6825-5.ch012
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With developing technologies surrounding human life, communication practices have increasingly become digital, and communication patterns have started to continue as an extension in these digital environments. Communication networks have become crucial platforms in disseminating information with the spread of social media networks via Web 2.0 and the participation of individuals in these networks globally, and these networks play an active role in the dissemination of information. Thanks to the interactive nature of social media, users can actively participate in the process, comment, and create content. Having so many content producers or resources leads to misinformation in an abundance of information, which in turn causes an infodemic. In this context, this study conceptually addressed the misinformation that individuals were exposed to through social media during the Coronavirus pandemic and the infodemic it caused, and the information, skills, and advice people might need in order to become health literate were included in order to overcome it.
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Social Media And Misinformation (Wrong Information)

Considering that communication is as old as the history of humanity, the history of the lie goes back to the first efforts of man to communicate. Containing the truth in communication is of great importance in terms of mutual trust. In this context, the concept of fake news consists of stories and rumours aimed at deliberate deception and information and news produced to mislead the masses. Fake news is usually produced with intentions such as influencing readers cognitively, making propaganda, and changing the agenda, as well as the result of misunderstanding, carelessness, or unintentional rushing information. A fake news published in mass media, either intentionally or unintentionally, can become irreversible after reaching the masses (Uluk, 2018).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Misinformation: Misinformation is defined as information containing “clear evidence about concrete issues and beliefs not supported by expert opinion”.

Health Literacy (HL): It is defined as the ability to find, understand, evaluate and apply health-related information that can help health systems and individuals achieve better quality care, lifestyle, disease management, treatment decisions and health.

COVID-19: Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease was first detected in Wuhan, China in December 2019, and then it became an issue as a pandemic across the world.

Infodemic: A concept typically consumed from a mixture of “information” and “epidemic”, which refers to the rapid and wide spread of both true and false information about a disease or epidemic.

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