Improving understanding of and response to infodemics during public health emergencies

Following the first global infodemiology conference held in July 2020, WHO and partners coordinated a joint call for papers with 5 academic journals representing different scientific fields, all related to components of the science behind managing infodemics. This week the first of these academic journals published its special infodemic feature. The research findings contribute to filling the knowledge gap identified through the WHO public health research agenda for managing infodemics released earlier this month.

In the issue published by Health Security, you’ll find original peer-reviewed articles that address practice- and research-based analysis of misinformation during epidemics, characteristics of successful online messaging, disinformation and epidemics in the context of biowarfare, understanding the impact of different news sources on risk perception, and use of community listening and feedback to respond to false information. The commentaries focus on the COVID-19 pandemic in the context of crisis and emergency risk communication, scientific situational awareness, and approaches to social media messaging.

Through research being published, the science of infodemic management will be built on solid and scientifically tested methods and analytics, all of which can contribute to the design of policies and interventions that will help health authorities monitor, evaluate and respond to the current and future infodemics.

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