Infodemics and misinformation negatively affect people’s health behaviours, new WHO review finds

This article originally appeared on the World Health Organization website. Below is an excerpt.
Incorrect interpretations of health information, which increase during outbreaks and disasters, often negatively impact people’s mental health and increase vaccine hesitancy, and can delay the provision of health care, a new WHO review shows.
The authors conclude that the effects of infodemics and health misinformation online can be countered by “developing legal policies, creating and promoting awareness campaigns, improving health-related content in mass media and increasing people’s digital and health literacy”.
The systematic review of published studies found 31 reviews that analysed fake news, misinformation, disinformation and infodemics related to health. Misinformation was defined as false or inaccurate information deliberately intended to deceive, while disinformation also included misleading or biased information, manipulated narratives or facts, and propaganda.

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