A national warning about coronavirus misinformation has been backed by Julia Weldon, director of Public Health at Hull City Council.
The Government is cracking down on the spread of false information online – whether that’s phoney advice on social media, fake scare-stories shared over email or text, or app messages from an unknown source.
People in Hull have been urged to use only official sources for information and to fact-check anything seen online, or sent to their phones via text or apps.
Julia said: “It could be very easy to get taken in by information we see online, or sent to our phones. Often information is shared by people we know, who don’t have any malicious intent. However, this doesn’t change the fact that in this current moment, misinformation can be dangerous.
“There are some very simple checks and balances we can all apply to everything we see which should help sift good information from bad.
“Of course, the most important thing we should all do is use only official sources. The Government is issuing very regular updates, as are the NHS and local partners, including ourselves. We’re all doing all we can to keep you informed and keep you safe.
UK Government has sent out only one text message on new rules about staying at home to prevent the spread of #coronavirus (see below). If you see others claiming to be from UK Government, they are false. pic.twitter.com/gAf8lEnAHY
— Cabinet Office (@cabinetofficeuk) March 27, 2020
“False advice picked up by the Government unit dealing with this include holding your breath for 15 seconds as a test for whether you have the virus and gargling water as a way to cure it. This is absolutely false, but has been widely shared.
“You may see things like this attributed to an expert, but I would urge everyone to be vigilant in checking the facts every single time”.
The recommended test to apply to information is the “share” checklist:
- Source: check the information is from a trusted source and that it really originates from where it claims
- Headline: always read beyond the headline
- Analyse: check the facts
- Retouched: does the image look like it could have been altered?
- Error: bad spelling and grammar could be a giveaway
Find more information on the Share website.