How Misinformation Spread When The Coronavirus Went ‘Viral’ Online

Tech expert Omar Gallaga says social media helped get the word out about the virus, but it also spread anti-Chinese racism and misinformation.

By Shelly BrisbinFebruary 20, 2020 2:09 pm, ,

Social media is often where people turn for breaking news, including news about the coronavirus. The virus outbreak started in Wuhan, China, then quickly spread to other parts of the world. But like many viral stories, not everything reported on social platforms about the outbreak has always been true, or even civil.

Tech expert Omar Gallaga says the coronavirus outbreak has tested social media as a resource for vital information.

“In some ways, it’s great that the graveness of the situation has gotten out more quickly, that we’re getting the seriousness of it and seeing, firsthand, these accounts out of China,” says Gallaga. “But also, a lot of misinformation is being spread. A lot of bad advice, a lot of racially tinged and culturally bad information.”

Gallaga says people in China and elsewhere are also using social media platforms to open up about how the virus has affected their lives.

What you’ll hear in this segment:

What people are saying about the coronavirus on social media

How people in China are reacting to the outbreak on social platforms

– How the coronavirus is affecting tech companies


Written by Samantha Carrizal.