An infodemic is too much information including false or misleading information in digital and physical environments during a disease outbreak. It causes confusion and risk-taking behaviors that can harm health. It also leads to mistrust in health authorities and undermines the public health response. An infodemic can intensify or lengthen outbreaks when people are unsure about what they need to do to protect their health and the health of people around them. With growing digitization – an expansion of social media and internet use – information can spread more rapidly. This can help to more quickly fill information voids but can also amplify harmful messages.
Infodemic management is the systematic use of risk- and evidence-based analyses and approaches to manage the infodemic and reduce its impact on health behaviors during health emergencies.
Infodemic management aims to enable good health practices through 4 types of activities:
- Listening to community concerns and questions
- Promoting understanding of risk and health expert advice
- Building resilience to misinformation
- Engaging and empowering communities to take positive action