Have you received an unverified message related to the coronavirus in the past few months? Maybe it was forwarded by your tita in one of your group chats on Viber?
During crises such as a pandemic, unverified reports and misleading posts online can spread as fast and as wide as the virus itself.
This is not surprising. With almost everyone locked inside their homes during the quarantine, Filipinos crave for information that could help allay any feelings of uncertainty and fear.
However, the disinformation network that casts doubt on official and established sources of reliable information makes many Filipinos especially gullible to misleading information.
The World Health Organization said that the "infodemic" or the unprecedented surge information – be it truthful or false – has become a severe deterrent in combating the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Therefore, staying at home is not the only thing that quarantined Filipinos can do to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. It also becomes imperative for online-savvy Filipinos to be responsible when sharing information online.
How can netizens help separate fact from fiction in the time of coronavirus?
MovePH, Rappler’s civic engagement arm has been leading a series of fact-checking webinars in the time of coronavirus aimed at training participants to spot disinformation online and combat it.
During the webinar, Raisa Serafica, Rappler’s head of civic engagement, will tackle the online landscape during the pandemic. Rappler’s researcher/writer Vernise Tantuco will discuss the fact-checking methodology. There will also be a Q&A session and a spot-check exercise.
More than 6,000 participants from all regions of the country and even abroad joined the first 32 sessions of the webinar since it began on April 3, 2020.
Some of these sessions were co-hosted by various academic institutions, youth organizations, and local groups. Interested participants may join any of the upcoming co-hosted fact-checking webinar sessions: