Editorial: Staying Ahead of the Disinformation Tidal Wave

Now More Than Ever, Do Not Trust Everything You See Online

Graphic Carl Bindman

Things are moving very quickly with COVID-19.

In our editorial last week, we led off by saying what a difference a week makes; now it seems every hour something new happens.

It’s very easy to get lost in the deluge of information about anything even remotely related to the global pandemic. That’s especially true if you’re active on social media. It was already easy to get overwhelmed when topics of conversation were more regularly varied.

The pandemic is front and centre in the media, and the information going around is abundant, and often conflicting. It’s confusing to weed out what is true.

What are the symptoms? What’s the distance for effective social distancing? Does this mix of drugs cure the disease? Who is working on a vaccine?

It’s as important as ever to be vigilant and critical of the information we absorb. Having trustworthy sources of information is critical right now; so much so that even Quebec Premier François Legault has thanked and praised the role of the media in its delivery of information during the pandemic.

Here are some good sources:

-The World Health Organization has daily situation reports that are about 10 pages long with a lot of raw data. also have a very in-depth Q&A about COVID-19.

-The Montreal Gazette and the CBC are providing condensed daily updates on the situation in Quebec and around the world, making it easy to find information in the same place.

-If you wonder how the media is handling this, listen to Canadaland, a media criticism podcast hosted by Jesse Brown.

Or, don’t. The news can be suffocating. Don’t be afraid to respect the boundaries of your personal media consumption.

Even with all this data, the most anyone can really do is keep yourself and your loved ones safe. Advocating for support towards workers in precarious positions is also important. Support workers in essential services and those fighting on the front lines of the pandemic. Keep in mind the renters who, as of writing, still might have to pay rent without their income.

We hope you stay safe in these strange times.