Misleading information and false news on COVID-19 is flowing from America into Canada through social media platforms.
With the widespread of COVID-19 came the widespread of false news related to it, and it has been found that Americans are the key players in intensifying this spread. Misleading information flows across the border, resulting in difficulties in stopping the virus’s spread for Canadian authorities.
Even though Canadian authorities are stressing their citizens should follow the guidelines laid out by its government sources and to believe incredible sources only while disregarding the false news from unknown sources. Still, many Canadians buy the false facts on COVID-19 available online.
Recently, Facebook faced a suit on the spread of false news on a rather sensitive matter, Covid-19. Social media platforms have fueled the issue where most people open their cell phones to find fake and misleading information on the widespread disease.
Mcgill University, Canada, led this recent study. The key findings being that people who use social media platforms are more likely to fall prey to the wrong facts on the virus and then to spread that information elsewhere.
Canadian authorities are fighting this ill by providing information from authentic sources on its platforms. Despite these state efforts, its people tend to believe in conspiracy theories and poorly sourced medical advice fueling the “not to get vaccinated” mindset more than ever before.
“A lot of Canadians are struggling to understand COVID-19 denialism and anti-vaccination attitudes among their loved ones,” says lead author Aengus Bridgman, a Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science at McGill University under the supervision of Dietlind Stolle. According to the study published in Frontiers in Political Science, these attitudes are partially the result of massive Canadian consumption of information from the United States.
200,000 most active Twitter profiles in Canada were analyzed for the research. It was found that those who rely on more use of social media are the ones who fall prey to misleading information from non-credible U.S sources. Most of the misleading information re-posted by the Canadian Twitter users was from the American Twitter users, subsequently spreading the false news into Canada like-wise as its spread in the U.S.
Canada has imposed strict policies to eliminate the Covid-19 pandemic, whereas its bordering country America is doing quite an in contrast. The American narrative on Covid-19 crosses the border into Canada, making the state authorities waste with more people believing in false news and conspiracy theories on Covid-19. The social media impact is large on Canada, where almost 50 percent of its population uses Instagram. Even more, Canadians are Facebook users, and 2 out of 5 individuals use Twitter. This comes with the Canadian population following more content from U.S sources.
According to the researchers, this influence produces a troubling vulnerability for Canada during the pandemic. “It’s hard for Canadian journalists, scientists, and public health experts to be heard by the average Canadian, given all the noise generated by American sources,” says Bridgman. “Countries with journalists and political leaders that don’t indulge conspiracy theories or profess anti-science views are simply not immune to dangerous infodemics.”
The Canadian government is trying to limit the spread of fake covid-19 news that goes like wildfire. “This infodemic has the capacity to change important attitudes and behaviors that influence transmission patterns of COVID-19. Ultimately, it can change the scale and lethality of a pandemic,” says Owen.