A new fact checking service has been launched to combat disinformation about the Covid-19 pandemic.
Infotagion, which is backed by a cross party group of current and former parliamentarians, aims to combat fake news which can cause undue panic and potentially lead to governments and health services diverting resources away from where they are needed most.
The free to access service is appealing to social media users to share information with them so they can verify the facts from trusted sources of information before it gets widely shared.
The submitted information is checked by a team that includes academic experts who use the latest public health information provided by trusted sources to give “traffic light answers” as to whether the information is correct.
They will then use their extensive contacts within both the media and social media industry to promote accurate information for the benefit of all.
Liam Harrington, Chief Business Officer of Iconic Labs, which is spearheading the programme, said: “Social media is proving to be a very powerful and important asset to our communities in the current crisis. In particular it provides one of the most effective means by which people can maintain essential interaction with others, and preserve communities, during this period of social distancing and isolation.
“However, there is another side in that social media is one of the primary forums in which disinformation, whether circulated innocently or deliberately, is prevalent. We are therefore very pleased to be able to play a role in helping to counter disinformation about the current Covid-19 pandemic by bringing our expertise and skills to bear on the problem.”
Damian Collins MP, added: “The spread of disinformation through social media is particularly dangerous, and so I am very pleased that David Sefton introduced me to John, Liam, Sam and the whole Iconic Labs team, whose background experience at UNILAD is exceptional, and who I believe can play a key role with the social media world and elsewhere online in helping to dispel disinformation and disseminate correct information.”