Verified – The United Nation’s Latest Initiative to help Counter Fake News and Promote the Message of Global Solidarity During the Pandemic

Since the start of the ongoing global pandemic, international organizations working at the frontline to deal with the crisis have been fighting the spread of misinformation as well. Battling fake news has been a crisis in itself. The World Health Organization has been diligently working to counter this problem by sharing authentic news through its social media platforms and all the social media platforms have also come up with features to help deal with this issue.

To further help curb fake news, the United Nations has now launched an initiative called, Verified. The idea is to provide people around the globe accurate information to help save lives and continue to promote global solidarity in the face of the pandemic.

Antonio Guterres, the Secretary-General said in a statement that, “We cannot cede our virtual spaces to those who traffic in lies, fear and hate.”

He further added, “Misinformation spreads online, in messaging apps and person to person. Its creators use savvy production and distribution methods. To counter it, scientists and institutions like the United Nations need to reach people with accurate information they can trust.”

The U.N. chief has previously raised the alarm about rising discrimination, hate speech and xenophobia related to the pandemic, much of it fuelled by online platforms.

In addition to sharing authentic information, Verified will also be sharing content that celebrates local acts of humanity, contributions of refugees and migrants during the crisis in their new communities, in an attempt to highlight the spirit of global cooperation.

Melissa Fleming, who heads the U.N. communications department, observed that in many countries, misinformation spread via digital channels is impeding pandemic response and stirring unrest.

“There are disturbing efforts to exploit the crisis to advance nativism or to target minority groups, which could worsen as the strain on societies grows and the economic and social fallout kicks in”, she added.

“The U.N. campaign aims to reach millions of people worldwide with information in several languages about COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. It will rely on “information volunteers” who will receive a daily blast of content to disseminate through their communities. It will come packaged for online or broadcast platforms from already verified U.N. reports, data and policy briefs and the World Health Organization.

“Verified” will also promote COVID-19 recovery packages that tackle the climate crisis and address the causes of poverty, inequality and hunger.

The U.N is also collaborating with a leading social mobilization organization, Purpose, along with social media influencers, civil society, various businesses and media organizations t disseminate material as wildly as possible to root out hate speech and harmful assertions about COVID-19. People can also sign up to join as information volunteers.

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