Do not keep your mouth shut, but be sure to check the facts – Here are 9 tips on how to communicate about coronavirus on social media
At the moment coronavirus is a hot topic you can’t avoid. Updates to the latest diagnoses and quarantine situations have taken over coffee break discussions as well as magazine headlines. Understandably, it provokes a lot of discussions, confuses and even scares many. That’s why PING Helsinki and Mediapool have put together instructions on how to communicate about coronavirus on social media.
Social media influencers play an important role in preventing the spread of disinformation but also in sharing correct information. They can reach thousands or even millions of people through their social channels. Especially young audiences rely more on influencers than other communication channels, so influencers have a great responsibility.
It is important that even in a crisis situation like this, influencers recognize their own responsibilities, dare to answer the questions of their followers and, above all, direct them to the right information and guidelines. Instead of sparking unnecessary panic, social influencers have a socially significant role to play in providing reliable information and up-to-date policies on the subject.
Both traditional and social media carry a lot of information and news about the situation. That’s why we have compiled a list of tips on how to communicate on social media, where to check facts, and how to identify fake news.
9 tips on how to communicate about coronavirus on social media
- Stop and think for three seconds before sharing anything. Do not share the link only based on the title, but always look at the entire content.
- Review content critically. Who published the content and where? Why was it published? What purpose does it serve? Does the content refer to sources and can they be found elsewhere on the web? Google if you can find the claim from another source.
- Recognize what is a fact and what is only an opinion. Is something being claimed? Who claimed and what? For example, opinions, guesses, hopes, or exhortations are not facts.
- If you claim something, check that it is true. Use reliable sources, such as independent media, authorities and research institutes. Reliable, up-to-date coronavirus status and instructions can be found on the WHO website, for example.
- Always tell your followers where the information came from and link to the original source if possible.
- Critically evaluate whether the pictures or videos in the story are in the right context and whether the content has been modified to alter the truth.
- Don’t share a story that contains incorrect information. Not even when you want to show that you recognized it as fake news or that you are outraged by a false claim. In this case, you will inadvertently spread false information, even if your purpose was the opposite.
- If you accidentally post inaccurate information, correct your mistake and make it clear to your followers what was wrong and what was right in your post.
- Recognize your own preconceptions. People are more receptive to information that strengthens their preconceptions and worldview.
For more information about social media influencers’ responsibilities, and tips and tools for fact-checking, recognizing fake news and building your reliability, check out The Handbook of a reliable social media influencer. It is a guide for all social media content creators created by Mediapool and PING Helsinki.