UN launches global campaign against COVID-19 misinformation

(Eagle News) – The United Nations on Thursday, May 21 launched “Verified”, a worldwide initiative to combat misinformation about COVID-19.

““We cannot cede our virtual spaces to those who traffic in lies, fear and hate,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a statement.

He noted that misinformation spreads online through “savvy production and distribution methods”, and thus “scientists and institutions like the United Nations need to reach people with accurate information they can trust.”

Under the Verified initiative, people from around the world can sign up to become “digital responders”, and will receive a daily feed of verified content which they can share to their families and communities.

The information provided will revolve around three themes: science – to save lives; solidarity – to promote local and global cooperation; and solutions – to advocate for support to impacted populations.

The Verified initiative is led by the UN Department of Global Communications (DGC), and will be implemented in partnership with UN agencies and country teams, influencers, civil society, business and media organizations.

The campaign aims, among others, “to distribute trusted, accurate content and work with social media platforms to root out hate and harmful assertions about COVID-19.”

“In many countries the misinformation surging across digital channels is impeding the public health response and stirring unrest”, UN Under-Secretary General for Global Communications Melissa Fleming said in the statement.

Fleming said that there are disturbing efforts to exploit the COVID-19 crisis to advance nativism or target minority groups.

Through the Verified initiative, the UN hopes to address this issue “with hopeful content that celebrates local acts of humanity, the contributions of refugees and migrants, and makes the case for global cooperation.”

Eagle News Service