Digital Literacy is our best weapon against misinformation

Digital Literacy is our best weapon against misinformation

The pandemic is far from over. We can all help to end it by using our social media platforms to influence those around us by continuing to share factual, reliable, science-backed information with our followers.

In October 2021, Verified assembled expert panellists from around the world to speak at the UN’s Global Media and Information Literacy Week.

We wanted to share some of the vital lessons that we’ve learned about how to connect with vulnerable people during a global pandemic, and how to equip them with the tools to protect themselves against misinformation.

At the event we heard from officials in India about how Verified was able to reach across the digital divide in Delhi’s informal urban communities, using ‘Saathis’ – trusted local messengers – to speak to people about COVID in the way they needed to hear it.

From Brazil, an Olympic volleyball champion and a music producer told us how well-respected names and faces from sport and the arts took Verified’s messages about sticking to safe behaviours and influenced younger people to persist, even in the face of ‘COVID fatigue’.

And from South Africa, a Zwakala community champion joined a health expert to describe how a movement that inspired a township to protect itself against infection became a national campaign.

The message from the UN’s Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications Melissa Fleming and Purpose CEO Jeremy Heimans was that increasing digital literacy is vital to ending this pandemic and building resilience against future challenges.

Throughout this crisis, we have seen how misinformation can distort truth, affect human behaviour and cost lives. And we have learned that simple strategies like Pausing before posting slows the spread of misinformation. We know that mobilising experts to deliver factual health information in the language of the internet, such as our Team Halo Guides on TikTok, can effectively spread reliable messages. And we know that everyone, whether a famous celebrity, or an ordinary person talking to friends and family, can play a vital role in tackling misinformation.