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article imageOp-Ed: What does Corona beer and coronavirus have in common? — Nothing

By Karen Graham     Jan 31, 2020 in Internet
The new coronavirus has nothing to do with Corona beer. However, one you can get from a bar at a party. The other can get you barred from a party. Thankfully, most of us know this.
Hoaxes, fake news, and questionable, sometimes dangerous "cures" for the 2019-nCOV have inundated social media platforms to the point that Twitter, Google, Facebook, YouTube, and other platforms are scrambling to get the assault under control.
There are a bunch of false stories making the rounds on social media, including that the virus originated in a seafood and meat market in Wuhan, parents abandoning their children in an airport, FEMA proposing martial law to contain the coronavirus, the U.S. patented a vaccine years ago for the coronavirus.
According to Google Trends, searches for “beer virus” and “Corona beer virus” have been on the rise, corresponding to the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) beyond Wuhan and beyond China. While there has been an increase in Google searches for "beer virus" and "corona beer virus," those are both dwarfed by searches for simply "beer" or "coronavirus."
But in looking at the data, Americans apparently find it easier to just search for "beer virus," while other countries, like Canada and Russia and China, and parts of South America search for "corona beer virus."
As Forbes notes, on the trends page, you will notice the lines are relatively flat during the first couple weeks in January. "After all," says Forbes, "why would you normally search for beer virus unless perhaps you somehow thought that you could drink your way out of having a virus?"
Misinformation about the mystery virus has spread widely since its outbreak in China
Misinformation about the mystery virus has spread widely since its outbreak in China
Global public interest took off around January 20, when China's National Health Commission confirmed that human-to-human transmission of 2019-nCoV had occurred. And that is about the same time that online searches for "coronavirus" began to spike. However, health topics are a common target of misinformation peddlers looking to mislead people with dubious information.
What is social media doing to curb misinformation?
And needless to say, misinformation is very hard to control because of the fears, confusion and outright panic it creates. This is where social media platforms are stepping up to curb false information and at the same time, offer “authoritative health sources” - much like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is doing.
This is what Twitter is doing. “We’ve launched a new dedicated search prompt to ensure that when you come to the service for information about the #coronavirus, you’re met with credible, authoritative information first,” the company said in a blog post Wednesday. Twitter has also stopped auto-suggest results that direct users to bogus content.
A website for the Hal Turner Show cited false numbers of how many people have been affected  Lead St...
A website for the Hal Turner Show cited false numbers of how many people have been affected, Lead Stories reports.
Lead Stories
Facebook is going so far as to place "warning labels" on falsehoods, including sending notifications to users who share debunked content. However, some of this fake information is being shared in private Facebook groups, according to the Washington Post.
Google is prioritizing authoritative sources - such as health experts, public health institutions or media outlets at the top of search results and in "watch next" panels on YouTube. Yet, even less well-known platforms are being hit by bogus coronavirus information. Even TikTok is not immune.
According to Media Matters, despite updating its policy on the spread of fake news, misinformation, and falsehoods, they still found multiple videos on TikTok spreading baseless claims and debunked conspiracy theories about an ongoing public health crisis.
And BuzzFeed News is keeping a ever-growing running list of disinformation being spread about the coronavirus.
Jane Lytvynenko BuzzFeed News Reporter
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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