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Social Media Rumors About Ebola Put More at Risk
By: Jessica Cherok
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Social media is an amazing tool for spreading information. Unfortunately, that same awesome speed with which the truth is disseminated is the probably half the speed that falsehoods are spread. This is proving to be true in the case of Ebola facts.

According to some social media posts, Ebola can be spread through the air. It can’t, but that isn’t stopping the statement from getting traction. Apparently Ebola was also created by the United States government as a method of warfare, but it can be cured with a simple blend of spices. Both wrong.

But the danger in this misinformation is very real. People who are in Ebola-affected areas are desperate for information, and oftentimes they’re finding the wrong kind of “facts.” In Nigeria, people died after drinking salt water that they had heard would cure Ebola. The country, and the continent as a whole, receives a lot of their information from social media. This is true of many countries, but parts of Africa lack government and healthcare institutions to counter misinformation, leaving many susceptible.

The misinformation situation is so bad, that the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a warning against relying on unverified sources for Ebola information. Some countries even asked their citizens to refrain from posting inflammatory information online.

For more information on Internet rumors about Ebola, visit www.emergent.info.

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About the Author
Jessica Cherok is an advocate for online privacy, campaigning for ethical data practices and the protection of personal privacy.
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