How to Spot Fake News: The COVID-19 Edition

In this time of COVID-19, we have two types of viruses to worry about. We have all become familiar with the immediate physical threat to our health that has us washing our hands often, practicing social distancing, and more recently, donning cloth face coverings

But COVID-19 puts us at risk for more than just physical illness. Inaccurate and incomplete information about the novel coronavirus can spread just as rapidly, making us vulnerable to misinformation. During a pandemic, misinformation itself can harmful, and even deadly (e.g., fraudulent cures and violence against stigmatized ethnic groups).

Libraries can provide the antidote to the viral spread of false information. The American Library Association defines the information-literate individual as someone who has the ability to recognize an information need and can locate, evaluate, and use information effectively. Fighting deception and inaccuracy is in the librarian's professional marrow. In 2017, Denver Public Library developed a course called "How To Spot Fake News" to teach the tricks and tools reference librarians use to evaluate the credibility of news stories. This month, we are debuting our online class, How To Spot Fake News: The COVID-19 Edition. 

How to Spot Fake News

Can't make the class? Educate yourself with some credible online resources:

Denver Public Library: How To Spot Fake News

The News Literacy Project: Get Smart About COVID-19 Misinformation

PEN America: Guide on COVID-19 and Disinformation

Federal Trade Commission: Avoid Coronavirus Scams

Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Reducing Stigma

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment: About COVID-19

Written by Robin on April 17, 2020