Mitigating Medical Misinformation – new research brief from the TaSC project

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The Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) is proud to announce the release of a new research brief from the Technology and Social Change project (TaSC) — Mitigating Medical Misinformation: A Whole-of-society Approach To Countering Spam, Scams, And Hoaxes.

This brief addresses how the public health sector, along with a coalition of civil servants, media workers, technology companies, and civil society organizations, can understand and respond to the problem of medical media manipulation, specifically how it spreads online.

Compiled by an expert team of researchers at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, this brief describes the strategic use of media manipulation tactics, provides case studies about media manipulation campaigns that spread medical misinformation, and offers actionable insights for how to track and counter their harms in the form of a response matrix.

The pandemic has shown us that accurate, timely, local, and relevant information is essential to containing COVID-19. However, when false information intermingles with true and accurate content, the glut of information creates confusion, resulting in what the World Health Organization has termed, an “infodemic.” This brief sheds light on how different stakeholders can play a role in a whole-of-society approach to countering medical misinformation and malicious media manipulation. The research-and-response decision-making matrix presented here aligns with the WHO’s guidance on handling the infodemic.

About the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy
The Shorenstein Center is a research center based at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, with a mission to study and analyze the power of media and technology and its impact on governance, public policy and politics. Research, courses, fellowships, public events and engagement with students, scholars, and journalists form the core of the Center. For more information, visit shorensteincenter.org.

Media Contact: manipulation@hks.harvard.edu