Mission 12

Mission Details | INFODEMIC

Hello + welcome to our twelfth collective mission. This one's a learning experience.

We've prepared an ambassador "Infodemic mini-class" for you below. With your commitment, we can better serve our local communities. As the virus spreads, so does misinformation. This creates what is known as an Infodemic. Let's work together to slow the spread.

⛑️ How to support:

  • 🔟 Mini-class: Swipe through the virtual training below for the Top 10 Things To Know About Infodemics. We've teamed up with the US Surgeon General to put the latest health misinformation advisory to use within our local communities.

  • 🍎 Extra Credit: We've compiled additional resources to learn more on the subject of misinformation. Choose your format - from 40 second videos to 20 minute reads, there's a little something for everyone.

  • 🎓 Extra-Extra Credit: A certificate of completion awaits if you invest a 1.5 hour total commitment. Scroll all the way down for full details

(Let us know how it goes: To be featured in our Mission 12 recap, please provide any feedback here, once complete. We love hearing from you!)

🔟 Mini-class.

🚀 Swipe through to build Infodemic expertise (5-min)

Top 10 things to know about infodemics: Confronting health misinformation“I am urging all Americans to help slow the spread of health misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Health misinformation is a serious threat to public health. It can cause confusion, sow mistrust, harm people’s health, and undermine public health efforts. Limiting the spread of health misinformation is a moral and civic imperative that will require a whole-of-society effort.”Infodemics slow progress. A recent study showed that even brief exposure to COVID-19 vaccine misinformation made people less likely to want a COVID-19 vaccine.   Given the nature of social media, many of us 
are exposed to brief misinformation, 
regularly.Social media has made things complicated. We’ve all likely seen a well-meaning friend, family member, or someone in our social networks share misinformation. 

Misinformation is information that is false, inaccurate, or misleading according to the best available evidence at the time. 

As a society, we are now asking ourselves how to find balance between freedom of expression and avoiding information that can cause harm.The World Health Organization writes: 
An infodemic is too much information including false or misleading information
during a disease outbreak. 

• It causes confusion and behaviors that can harm health. 

• It leads to mistrust in health authorities and undermines the public health response. 

• An infodemic can intensify or lengthen outbreaks when people are unsure about what they need to do to protect their health and the health of people around them.Social and web algorithms make it easier for misinformation to spread at unprecedented speed and scale. Misinformation spreads quickly for several reasons.   Misinformation is often framed in sensational and emotional (rather than logical) ways that facilitate behavior, align with our biases, and heighten anxiety. To relieve the anxiety, people can feel a sense of urgency to react and share emotionally charged misinformation with peers, enabling it to spread and go “viral”.  As a society, we aren’t well trained to spot incorrect information and address it. The nature of social media doesn’t lend itself to citing sources.What is disinformation: Misinformation can sometimes be spread intentionally to trick people into believing something for financial gain or political advantage. This is called “disinformation”.
 But many people who share misinformation aren’t trying to misinform. Instead, they may intend to raise a concern, make sense of conflicting information, or seek answers to honest questions. (This is where helping people check the source can be helpful.)Because it pollutes our digital world, misinformation harms our health. Together, we have the power to build a healthier information environment. 

Just as we benefit from efforts to improve air and water quality, we benefit from taking steps to improve the quality of health information in our communities.What can individuals do? Slow down on social media. Learn how to 
identify and avoid sharing misinformation. 

When many of us share misinformation, we don’t do it intentionally: We are trying to inform others and don’t realize the information is false. Not every post on social media can be considered reliable. Misinformation can flourish in social stories, group texts or email threads among friends and family. Verify accuracy of information by checking with trustworthy and credible sources based on fact, not opinion. If you’re not sure, don’t share. What can communities do? Address health misinformation
in your community. 

Work with schools, community groups, such as 
churches and parent-teacher associations, and trusted leaders such as educators and health care professionals to develop local strategies against misinformation. For example, invite local health professionals to schools or to faith congregations to talk about COVID-19 vaccine facts. What can family + friends do? If you notice others sharing misinformation, 
step one is to proceed with extra empathy - 
they may not realize the error.  Seek to understand if they truly believe the information or if they simply shared without much thought
 Get genuinely curious to understand their point of view
 Share the importance of fact checking and only sharing from credible sourcesWe’ve compiled additional resources, below. Thank you for helping keep Virginia safe!


"We are all still learning how to navigate this new information environment.

But we know enough to be sure that misinformation is an urgent threat, and that we can and must confront it together."

🍎 Extra Credit
🚀 Continue your infodemic education experience below. The goal is to build COVID Community Ambassador awareness + expertise. If you feel someone in your community would find value in any of these materials, please share to help stop the spread of misinformation.

🩺 Vaccine Mythbusters (90 sec)
Led by Dr. Danny Avula, Virginia's State Vaccine Coordinator, this video offers researched + credible responses to common myths created through disinformation.

Confronting Health Misinformation (20-30 min)

Learn from the best. This report covers the full advisory by the US Surgeon General. Great background information + action steps.

💬 Surgeon General Overview (30 min)

This virtual call with U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy explains how we can help slow COVID-19 misinformation.

🔍 Let's Flatten the Curve (5-10 min)

This page by the World Health Organization shares top tips to identify + navigate misinformation or disinformation.

🕰️ Smarter in Seconds (40 sec)

Short + sweet, this Instagram reel by Blair Imani shares the basics of misinformation + disinformation in a way that is easy to understand + easy to share.

🧠 Misinformation Alerts (updated weekly)
Want to know how to respond to the latest misinformation circling the web? This page gathers weekly updates, with facts + tips for response.

🎓 Extra-Extra Credit
🚀 For Community Ambassadors who review all 7 items above (mini-class + extra credit, a 1.5 hour commitment), we've created a downloadable certificate below for you to share on social media or in text. This is a way to acknowledge your accomplishment + commitment to community-driven public health. Thank you for helping slow the spread of misinformation in Virginia... an act of service worth celebrating!

(drag or click-and-hold to download)

Key facts, feedback + insight on mission success.

🗓 On September 23, 2021, Mission 12 email was delivered to 4,094 Ambassadors.

⛑️ Within the first week, Mission 12 received 4,285 views.

Ambassadors rated this mission 5 out of 5 in terms of being helpful to their communities.
-- The Commonwealth thanks you for your support, Ambassadors! --