Transcript: COVID-19 Facts and Misinformation | Mar 18, 2020

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, lilac shirt, and purple tie.

A caption on screen reads "Coronavirus myths debunked."

Steve says TRYING TO KEEP UP ON EVERYTHING AS IT RELATES TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC SO FAR HAS, FOR MANY, BEEN A BIT LIKE TRYING TO DRINK FROM A FIRE HOSE. UNFORTUNATELY, THAT LEAVES US OPEN TO ALL MANNER OF MISINFORMATION, RUMOUR AND EVEN SCAMS. WITH US TO HELP COUNTER SOME OF THAT, IN EDMONTON, ALBERTA, VIA SKYPE, TIMOTHY CAULFIELD, PROFESSOR OF HEALTH LAW AND SCIENCE POLICY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA AND THE AUTHOR THE THE FORTHCOMING BOOK: "RELAX, DAMMIT!"...

Timothy is in his late thirties, clean-shaven, with short, side-parted gray hair. He's wearing glasses and a denim shirt.

Steve continues AND IN TORONTO, VIA SKYPE, YEVGENIYA LYTVYNENKO, BUT YOU KNOW HER AS JANE. SHE IS THE SENIOR REPORTER AT BUZZFEED NEWS FOCUSING ON DISINFORMATION, SECURITY AND ONLINE INVESTIGATIONS AND WE'RE DELIGHTED TO WELCOME BOTH OF YOU TO TVO TONIGHT.

Jane is in her thirties, with long, straight red hair. She's wearing glasses and a gray blazer.

Steve continues AGAIN, WE REITERATE, IN CASE PEOPLE HAVEN'T HEARD WE'RE HAVING NO GUESTS IN THE STUDIO AS A MEANS OF, YOU KNOW, DOING OUR PART FOR SOCIAL DISTANCING AND SO ON. AND, THEREFORE, JANE, EVEN THOUGH YOU'RE IN TORONTO YOU'RE ON THE LINE AND TIMOTHY, SAME TO YOU. THANKS FOR JOINING US FROM EDMONTON.
WE'RE GOING TO USE A COUPLE OF DIFFERENT TERMS HERE TONIGHT. MAYBE THREE, ACTUALLY. DISINFORMATION AND MISINFORMATION. AND WE ARE GOING TO DESCRIBE THE DIFFERENCE HERE. DISINFORMATION IS JUST STUFF THAT'S WRONG. AND REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THERE'S INTENT TO MISLEAD IT'S JUST BAD INFORMATION. DISINFORMATION IS INFORMATION THAT IS DELIBERATELY MISLEADING. IT HAS A MISCHIEVOUS MOTIVE TO IT. SO WE'RE GOING TO TALK ABOUT THESE DIFFERENT THINGS DURING THE COURSE OF OUR CONVERSATION. AND, JANE, I WILL START WITH YOU. BECAUSE YOU'VE BEEN COVERING THE DISINFORMATION AND MISINFORMATION SURROUNDING THIS CORONAVIRUS EVER SINCE IT BEGAN IN CHINA. CAN YOU TELL US, SINCE THEN, HOW IT HAS ALL EVOLVED?

The caption changes to "Jane Lytvynenko. Buzfeed News."
Then, it changes again to "Dangerous inaccuracies."

Jane says GENTLEMAN, ABSOLUTELY. SO WHEN THE NEWS OF THE VIRUS FIRST BROKE, AND WHEN WE FOUND OUT THAT CHINA WAS DEALING WITH THIS EPIDEMIC, WHICH WAS THEN AN EPIDEMIC, IT WAS MORE OF AN ARM'S LENGTH TYPE OF MISINFORMATION. WE WERE LOOKING AT WHAT WAS HAPPENING INCLINED AND WE WERE LEARNING MYTHS ABOUT THAT. ONE OF THE MOST PROMINENT MYTHS THAT CAME OUT OF THAT WAS THAT THE SPREAD OF THE CORONAVIRUS WAS DELIBERATE ATTEMPT AT A BIOWEAPON.

The caption changes to "Jane Lytvynenko, @JaneLytv."
A map appears briefly on screen showing the location of Hamilton.

Jane continues NOW, THAT IS COMPLETELY FALSE. AND THERE HAS ACTUAL BEEN A STUDY RELEASED TODAY SHOWING THAT THAT'S FALSE. THEN AS THE CORONAVIRUS CAME TO EUROPE AND NOW NORTH AMERICA, DISINFORMATION, MISINFORMATION IS BEING TARGETED AT THE PEOPLE HERE WHO MAY BE EITHER EXPERIENCING SYMPTOMS OR ARE JUST AFRAID THAT THEY WILL BE CATCHING THE VIRUS. SO NOW WE REALLY NEED TO BE VIGILANT ABOUT THE TYPE OF INFORMATION WE RELY ON.

Steve says LET'S BREAK THAT DOWN, TIMOTHY AND FOCUS ON THE MISINFORMATION. STUFF THAT IS WRONG WITHOUT THE ATTEMPT TO BE MISCHIEVOUS, IT'S JUST OUT AND OUT WRONG. HOW WOULD YOU CHARACTERIZE THE THREAT THAT MISINFORMATION POSES WHEN WE'RE IN THE MIDST OF A GLOBAL PANDEMIC?

The caption changes to "Timothy Caulfield. University of Alberta. @caulfieldtim."

Timothy says IT'S HUGE. IT REALLY HAS HAD A TREMENDOUS IMPACT. AND, OF COURSE, PART OF THE REASON IS THAT THIS IS THE FIRST PANDEMIC IN THE SOCIAL MEDIA AGE. AND SO WE'RE SEEING SO MUCH INFORMATION ON SOCIAL MEDIA THAT'S GETTING SHARED AND THAT'S REALLY A IMPORTANT POINT. A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE SHARING THIS STUFF. AND IT'S CREATING AN INCREDIBLY CHAOTIC INFORMATION ENVIRONMENT. WHICH IS REALLY, I THINK, REALLY, REALLY PROBLEMATIC. AND WE'RE SEEING MISINFORMATION ABOUT EVERYTHING AGAIN FROM THE SOURCE. THAT'S STARTING TO FADE A LITTLE BIT. NOW THE DOMINANT BITS OF MISINFORMATION ARE LARGELY FOCUSED ON CURES AND PREVENTIVE STRATEGIES. AND THINGS THAT YOU CAN DO EVEN AROUND YOUR HOME THIS WAYS THAT YOU COULD DISINFECT YOUR HOUSE. THAT IS REALLY PROBLEMATIC. AND TO BE HONEST WITH YOU, DEPENDING HOW YOU CATEGORIZE DISINFORMATION AND MISINFORMATION, SOME OF THIS IS JUST INFORMATION BECAUSE IT'S MARKETING, STEVE. THEY ARE TRYING TO USE THIS MOMENT TO LEVERAGE PROFIT. AT TIMES I THINK THERE ARE PRACTITIONERS OUT THERE, ALTERNATIVE PRACTITIONERS WHO REALLY MAY BELIEVE THEY'RE DOING GOOD AND THAT THE ADVICE IS SOUND. BUT IT'S STILL MISINFORMATION WHEN YOU LOOK AT IT FROM A SCIENTIFIC PERSPECTIVE.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Steve says OKAY, JANE, CUFF' BEEN LOOKING AT IT ALL. CAN YOU GIVE US YOUR TOP THREE LEAST FAVOURITE MISINFORMATION ATTEMPTS BY PEOPLE IN THE MIDST OF THIS THING?

Jane says YEAH, ABSOLUTELY. SO THE TOP ONE I WOULD SAY WOULD BE FALSE CURES. AND THIS GENERALLY LOOKS LIKE YOUTUBE VIDEOS THAT ARE TELLING YOU TO INHALE HOT AIR. SOMETIMES IT LOOKS LIKE SUPPLEMENT SALES WHICH SORT OF COYLY HINT AT BOOSTING YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM. AND SOMETIMES IT'S BAD ADVICE LIKE DRINKING WATER EVERY 15 MINUTES BECAUSE YOUR STOMACH ACID MAY KILL THE CORONAVIRUS WHICH THERE'S ABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENCE FOR.

Steve says AND TIMOTHY... FORGIVE ME, GO AHEAD, KEEP GOING.

Jane says MY APOLOGIES. JUST THE ONE OTHER THING THAT WE'RE SEEING A LOT OF IS THAT REPORTS THAT CITIES ARE ABOUT TO SHUT DOWN THAT ARE ATTRIBUTED TO VARIOUS FIGURES OF AUTHORITY. AND THOSE FIGURES OF AUTHORITY HAVE HAD TO DEBUNK A FAIR AMOUNT OF THESE RUMOURS.

Steve says INDEED. WE SAW THE MAYOR OF TORONTO, IN FACT, JOHN TORY ON TWITTER THE OTHER DAY SAYING I KNOW WHAT RUMOURS YOU FOLKS ARE HEARING BUT THEY'RE NOT TRUE AND LET'S NOT GET AHEAD OF OURSELVES ON ALL OF THIS STUFF. HAVING SAID THAT, TIMOTHY, CAN YOU TELL US, YOU KNOW, IF SOMEBODY WANTS TO GO OUT THERE AND INHALE HOT AIR BECAUSE THEY THINK IT'S GOING TO MAKE THEM HEALTHIER, IS THERE ANY HARM IN THAT ACTUALLY?

The caption changes to "Timothy Caulfield. Author, 'Relax dammit!'"
Then, it changes again to "Selling denial."

Timothy says I THINK THERE IS. AND I AGREE WITH JANE'S LIST. THE CURES ARE INFURIATING. THERE IS HARM. SOMETIMES THERE'S PHYSICAL HARM ASSOCIATED WITH SOME OF THESE ALLEGED CURES. LIKE IF YOU THINK OF SOMETHING LIKE A LOT OF ALTERNATIVE PRACTITIONERS ARE OFFERING I.V. VITAMIN THERAPY, THAT CAN BE HARMFUL. TOO MUCH VITAMINS, TOO MANY SUPPLEMENTS CAN ACTUALLY BE HARMFUL AND THERE'S EVIDENCE TO BACK THAT UP. AND THERE ARE OTHER KINDS OF LIKE HOMEOPATHY, ABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENCE. FOR THAT AT ALL THAT CAN DISTRACT US FROM STRATEGIES THAT MAY ACTUALLY BE EFFICACIOUS AND AGAIN STEVE IT GOES BACK TO THIS SITUATION WHERE YOU ARE JUST CREATING A CHAOTIC ENVIRONMENT. AN INFORMATION ENVIRONMENT THAT MAKES IT MORE DIFFICULT TO FOLLOW THE ADVICE FROM THOSE TRUSTED SOURCES. THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION, THE PUBLIC HEALTH AGENCY OF CANADA. AND THAT'S PROBLEMATIC IN ITSELF.

Steve says LET'S... LET ME JUST ASK OUR DIRECTOR SHELDON OSMOND, SHELDON CAN YOU GO TO THE BOTTOM OF PAGE TWO AND BRING THIS QUOTE UP FROM JANE WHO SAYS...

A tweet by Jane appears on screen.

Steve reads and says
THERE HAVE BEEN MANY ORGANIZATIONS LIKE COYLY HINTING THE VIRUS SPREAD. WHILE IT IS GOOD TO EAT HEALTHY GET LOTS OF SLEEP AND EXERCISE THERE ARE CURRENTLY NO KNOWN PREVENTIVE TREATMENTS. YOU SIGH, JANE, THIS AD IS THE BEST DEFENCE IS A STRONG IMMUNE SYSTEM AND A HOST OF PRODUCTS THAT THEORETICALLY BOOST THE IMMUNE SYSTEM. TELL ME WHAT YOU FIND PROBLEMATIC HERE.

Jane says THE FIRST THING IS THAT IT IS DEFINITELY MARKETING TO A VULNERABLE POPULATION. EVERYBODY IS AFRAID AND EVERYBODY WANTS TO NOT GET THIS VIRUS. SO IT'S A VERY OPPORTUNISTIC TYPE OF MARKETING WHERE THEY'RE NOT USING THE WORD "CORONAVIRUS." BUT YOU KNOW WHY THEY'RE SENDING YOU THIS E-MAIL IN THIS PARTICULAR TIME. AND THE DANGER WOULD BE WITH THESE "CURES" IS THAT PEOPLE MAY FEEL LIKE THEY... THEY'RE OKAY TO TRAVEL AROUND. LIKE THEY'RE OKAY TO NOT SOCIALLY DISTANT. AND WHAT ALL OF THEM ARE DOING IS THEY'RE COMPLETELY IGNORING THE WAY THAT THE VIRUS SPREAD WORKS WHICH IS YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR INTERNAL... YOU KNOW, YOU CAN CHANGE WHAT YOU EAT OR HOW MUCH YOU EXERCISE. AND, YOU KNOW, IT'S GOOD TO KEEP HEALTHY IN YOUR BODY. BUT YOU CANNOT CHANGE WHETHER THE VIRUS STICKS TO YOUR BODY, STICKS TO A SURFACE. WHETHER YOU TOUCH SOMETHING AND WHETHER YOU PASS IT ON. AND IT'S THIS TYPE OF DISINFORMATION THAT I WORRY ABOUT THE MOST: PEOPLE GETTING THE FALSE FEELING OF COMFORT.

Steve says TIMOTHY, LET'S JUST BE CLEAR ABOUT THIS. IF WE INCREASE OUR INTAKE OF ZINC, VITAMIN C OR PRO-BIOTICS WILL THAT ENHANCE OUR IMMUNITY SYSTEM?

Timothy says LOOK, THE IDEA THAT YOU CAN BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM DRIVES ME INSANE. IT'S SOMETHING I'VE WRITTEN ABOUT BEFORE. YOU CAN'T DO IT. YOU can't DO IT. IT'S A REAL MISNOMER. NOW, I THINK WHAT THEY'RE REALLY SAY IS YOU WANT TO HAVE A HEALTHY IMMUNES SYSTEM NOT A COMPROMISED IMMUNE SYSTEM. THAT'S A DIFFERENT STORY. BUT THE ADVERTISING IS ALWAYS ABOUT THIS IDEA OF BOOSTING YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM. LOOK, STEVE, HAVING AN AN ANAPHYLACTIC REACTION... THE IMMUNE SYSTEM YOU CANNOT BOOST IN THE WAY OF THERAPIES. BUT YOU SEE THAT KIND OF NOISE EVERYWHERE. CHIROPRACTORS SAY YOU HAVE TO BOOST YOUR SYSTEM. YOU GET THESE IV VITAMIN THERAPIES TO BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM. ON AND ON. AND PEOPLE SHOULD IGNORE IT ALL AND I ALSO WORRY THAT THIS IS REALLY LEVERAGING OFF OF THIS SORT OF LONG-TERM TOLERANCE OF MISINFORMATION IN THE HEALTH SPHERE THAT'S GETTING LEGITIMACY TO THIS. THE SUPPLEMENT INDUSTRY IS A MULTIBILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY. AND MUCH OF THEIR CLAIMS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN DEBUNKED. AND THE FACT THAT WE'RE IN THE MIDDLE OF A HEALTH CRISIS JUST EMPHASIZES THAT REALITY EVEN MORE. SO I HOPE THAT WE CAN LEARN FROM THIS.

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Steve says OKAY, JANE, LET'S NOW GO FROM MISINFORMATION, WHICH AS WE SAY WAS WRONG INFORMATION BUT NOT NECESSARILY MISCHIEVOUSLY PUT OUT THERE. AND LET US GO TO DISINFORMATION. WHERE THERE IS ACTUALLY... THERE ACTUALLY IS AN ATTEMPT BY THE PURVEYS OF THIS INFORMATION TO DECEIVE FOR NEFARIOUS PURPOSES. WHAT'S AT THE TOP OF YOUR HIT LIST THERE?

The caption changes to "Sowing panic."

Jane says SO EARLY ON, I WAS JUST LOOKING AT WHEN WE STARTED NOTICING THIS IN FEBRUARY. PEOPLE WHO ARE POLITICALLY MOTIVATED OR PEOPLE WHO HAVE FINANCIAL INTERESTS IN CHINA BEGAN TO SPREAD RUMOURS THAT THE VIRUS WAS DELIBERATELY SPREAD. THAT IT WASN'T AN ACCIDENT. AND TO ME, THAT IS THE TOP PIECE OF FLAT-OUT DISINFORMATION THAT WE'RE SEEING. AND NOW THERE HAVE BEEN MANY SCIENTISTS WHO HAVE LOOKED INTO THE ORIGIN OF THE CORONAVIRUS AND THEY HAVE SAID THAT THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENCE THAT THIS VIRUS WAS ALTERED IN A LABORATORY. BUT THAT A NARRATIVE HAS REALLY CAUGHT ON.

Steve says IT REALLY HAS, TIMOTHY. CAN YOU TALK TO US ABOUT MAYBE THE POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS OF MUCH OF THE WORLD BELIEVING THAT THIS WAS A NEFARIOUS PLOT BY THE CHINESE TO POISON EVERYBODY ELSE IN THE REST OF THE WORLD?

Timothy says YEAH, I AGREE WITH JANE. THIS IS REALLY REALLY FRUSTRATING. IN THE EARLY DAYS YOU SAW THAT NARRATIVE TAKE HOLD. AND JANE PROBABLY KNOWS BETTER THAN I DO, IT HASN'T GONE AWAY. AND THEY CONTINUE TO LEVERAGE THAT IDEA. YOU SEE DONALD TRUMP USING THAT SAME KIND OF NARRATIVE TO BLAME CHINA. YOU SEE DONALD TRUMP SUBTLY USING LANGUAGE LIKE "THE CHINA VIRUS" IN ORDER TO GIVE A SENSE OF THE BAD "OTHER" THAT, AGAIN, HELPS HIM POLITICALLY. AND, STEVE, YOU SEE MORE SUBTLE VERSIONS OF THIS. IN INDIA THERE ARE INDIVIDUAL WHO IS ARE PUSHING A PARTICULAR IDEOLOGICAL AGENDA BY MARKETING TRADITIONAL THERAPIES. AGAIN, THE IDEA THERE IS IT'S TO SUPPORT A POLITICAL IDEA. I FIND THAT REALLY PROBLEMATIC AT A NUMBER OF LEVELS FIRST OF ALL IT'S JUST WRONG. SCIENTIFICALLY AND FACTUALLY WRONG. BUT IT INVITES US TO DISTRUST BOTH SCIENCE AND DISTRUST PARTICULAR ENTITIES. AND I THINK THE BEST EXAMPLE OF THAT IS THE DISINFORMATION FLOWING FROM PLACES LIKE RUSSIA THAT ARE REALLY TRYING TO UNDERMINE OUR TRUST IN OUR HEALTH CARE SYSTEM AND IN OUR GOVERNMENT BECAUSE THAT PLAYS TO THEIR AGENDA. AND, OF COURSE, AT A TIME LIKE THIS, THIS IS WHEN YOU REALLY WANT TRUST. YOU WANT TO BE ABLE TO TRUST SCIENCE. YOU WANT TO BE ABLE TO TRUST THE PUBLIC HEALTH AUTHORITIES. AND TO BE HONEST WITH YOU, YOU ALSO WANT TO BE ABLE TO TRUST YOUR GOVERNMENT. SO I THINK THIS NARRATIVE REALLY ERODES ALL OF THOSE LEVELS IN A REALLY PROBLEMATIC WAY.

Steve says JANE, CAN YOU TELL WHETHER OR NOT THESE EFFORTS BY, LET'S SAY FOREIGN POWERS TO DISINFORM... IN OTHER WORDS WITH NEFARIOUS PURPOSE... ARE WORKING?

The caption changes to "Information warfare."

Jane says SO WE HAVE TO BE REALLY CAREFUL WITH AT RIB ATTRIBUTION. WE JUST DON'T KNOW WHETHER MISINFORMATION ANDS DID INFORMATION IS BEING SPREAD BY STATE ACTORS AT THE MOMENT. BUT WHAT WE DO KNOW IS THAT MANY COUNTRIES INCLUDING RUSSIA, IRAN, EGYPT AND EVEN THE U.S. HAS PUT OUT SORT OF NARRATIVES THAT ARE CONVENIENT FOR THEM AROUND THIS VIRUS. WE ALSO KNOW FROM CYBER SECURITY RESEARCHERS THAT THE COUNTRIES THAT HAVE PEOPLE THAT HAVE ESSENTIALLY CYBER CRIMINALS AT THEIR BECK AND CALL HAVE BEEN ACTIVE ONLINE. AND NOW, WHEN IT COMES TO STATE ACTORS SPREADING DISINFORMATION, WELL, WE DO NEED TO BE AWARE OF THAT. WE ALSO NEED TO BE AWARE OF THE WAY THAT DISINFORMATION SPREADS WHICH IS PERSON TO PERSON ORGANICALLY, THROUGH US PASSING ON SOMETHING THAT WE'RE NOT SURE ABOUT.

Steve says IN WHICH CASE, TIMOTHY, GIVE US SOME ADVICE RIGHT NOW: WHAT STEPS CAN PEOPLE TAKE TO ENSURE THAT THEY ARE NOT FOOLED BY EITHER BAD INFORMATION... MISINFORMATION... OR NEFARIOUS ATTEMPTS AS IN DISINFORMATION?

The caption changes to "You are responsible to stop the spread of misinformation."

Timothy says I THINK JANE IS SO RIGHT. IT'S IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT THIS SPREAD... I APOLOGIZE FOR THIS ANALOGY BUT IT SPREADS LIKE A VIRUS, RIGHT? MISINFORMATION DOES. AND IT'S INDIVIDUAL-TO-INDIVIDUAL INCREASINGLY SO IN THIS SOCIAL MEDIA AGE. THERE ARE A LOT OF THINGS YOU CAN DO DO. THE FIRST ONE IS OBVIOUS. YOU'VE HEARD THIS OVER AND OVER AGAIN, RELY ON TRUSTED SOURCES, THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION, PUBLIC HEALTH AGENCY OF CANADA, THE C D.C. THOSE AGENCIES AGGREGATING SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION IN A RESPONSIBLE WAY. THAT'S REALLY IMPORTANT ESPECIALLY WITH A TOPIC LIKE THIS WHERE THE SCIENCE IS ALWAYS EVOLVING. AND THE STORY IS ALWAYS EVOLVING. SO I THINK THAT'S REALLY IMPORTANT. THE OTHER THING WE CAN DO AND THERE IS RESEARCH TO BACK THIS UP IS TO PAUSE. I KNOW THAT SOUNDS, AGAIN, VERY, VERY SIMPLE BUT IT'S TRUE. PEOPLE DON'T WANT TO BE INACCURATE. PEOPLE DON'T WANT TO PASS ALONG MISINFORMATION. SO REALLY SORT OF TRYING TO BUILD THIS CULTURE OF ACCURACY, ASKING PEOPLE TO PAUSE AND GET A SENSE OF THE DEGREE TO WHICH THIS IS ACCURATE. IN FACT, THERE'S WORK THAT'S BEING DONE HERE IN CANADA BY PEOPLE LIKE GORD AN PENNYCOOK AT THE UNIVERSITY OF REGINA, SOMEONE I'M COLLABORATING WITH, THAT REALLY SHOWS THE DEGREE TO WHICH THAT IS TRUE. SO TRUSTED SOURCES, PAUSE, THINK ABOUT ACCURACY. AND THINK ABOUT THE SOURCE.

The caption changes to "tvo.org/theagenda; agendaconnect@tvo.org."

Steve says JANE, ANYTHING YOU'D ADD TO THAT IN ORDER TO CREATE WHAT'S BEING REFERRED TO AS A "CULTURE OF ACCURACY"?

Jane says ABSOLUTELY. SO WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT WHY DISINFORMATION WORKS IS THAT IT PLAYS ON PEOPLE'S EMOTIONS. IT MAKES PEOPLE REALLY ANXIOUS OR REALLY ANGRY. AND IT ENCOURAGES THEM TO ACT. AND IT'S NOT ALWAYS AS NEFARIOUS AS IT SOUNDS. SOMETIMES IT IS A PICTURE WITH WORDS OVER IT THAT SEEMS TO HAVE A GOOD SOURCE BUT DOESN'T. SOMETIMES IT IS A VIDEO IN WHICH A PERSON MISSPEAKS. AND SOMETIMES IT IS SOMEBODY PASSING ON THAT'S SOMETHING THAT THEY'VE HEARD. SO I DEFINITELY AGREE THAT PAUSING IS A REALLY GOOD WAY TO START. DEFINITELY PAUSE AND THINK ABOUT WHETHER YOU TRUST THE SOURCE THAT YOU'RE LOOKING AT. TAKE A DEEP BREATH. AND THEN GOOGLE IT. IF YOU ARE ABLE TO GOOGLE IT AND TO FIND A DEBUNK OR TO FIND AN ARTICLE EXPLAINING WHAT IS HAPPENING, SHARE THAT INSTEAD. MAKE SURE THAT PEOPLE IN YOUR IMMEDIATE NETWORK SEE IT. AND AS FOR US, AT BUZZFEED WE'VE BEEN TAKING SUBMISSIONS FROM ANYBODY WHO SEES BAD INFORMATION. SO IF YOU DO NOT SEE SOMETHING ON GOOGLE, IF THERE IS NO ARTICLE, PLEASE FIND ME. I'M ON TWITTER. MY E-MAIL IS THERE AS WELL AND WE WILL HELP GET THE CORRECT INFORMATION TO YOU.

Steve says I GUESS PART OF THE PROBLEM HERE, TIMOTHY, IS THAT MANY PEOPLE, IF THEY'RE FINDING THESE THINGS, FOR EXAMPLE, ON SOCIAL MEDIA, IT'S JUST A HELL OF A LOT OF FUN SOMETIMES. THE CRAZIER IT IS TO JUST PASS IT ALONG TO FRIENDS AND SAY, HEY, LOOK AT THIS WITHOUT APPRECIATING THE FACT THAT SOMEBODY ALONG THE WAY IS MAYBE GOING TO AGREE WITH THIS. IS THAT FAIR TO SAY?

Timothy says THAT IS FAIR TO SAY. AGAIN, THERE'S RESEARCH TO BACK THAT UP. AS JANE WAS HIGHLIGHTING, IF IT'S EMOTIVE, ENTERTAINING OR A GREAT NARRATIVE. WE HAVE RESEARCH THAT SHOWS THAT IT WILL HAVE MORE IMPACT OR GET TRACTION. HUMANS HAVE A STRONG NEGATIVITY BIAS. PUT IT THAT WAY. AND IF IT'S A DRAMATIC STORY AND THERE IS EVIDENCE TO BACK THIS UP, IT'S GOING TO PERFORM BETTER, RIGHT? SO REMIND YOURSELF OF THAT. REMIND YOURSELF OF THE COGNITIVE BIASES THAT WE ALL HAVE, EVERY ONE OF US. AND WHEN YOU ARE LOOKING AT A STORY, SAY IS THIS TRUE OR AM I JUST KIND OF RESPONDING EMOTIONALLY TO IT? AND THE OTHER THING I THINK IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER IS THE TOPIC. IF IT'S A TOPIC THAT IS CONTROVERSIAL AND IT'S IMPORTANT TO PUBLIC HEALTH AND IMPORTANT TO OUR WELL-BEING, I THINK WE SHOULD BE EXTRA CAUTIOUS. WE'RE NOT SHARING A STORY ABOUT TOM BRADY. WE'RE SHARING A STORY ABOUT A PANDEMIC.

Steve says AS LONG AS YOU'RE ON THE TOPIC, IS THAT RIDICULOUS THAT HE IS LEAVING NEW ENGLAND TO GO TO TAMPA BAY? I MEAN WHAT IS HE THINKING?

Timothy says IT'S BREAKING MY HEART, STEVE, BREAKING MY HEART.

Steve says ANOTHER SUBJECT FOR ANOTHER SHOW. OKAY. BUT JANE HAVING SAID THAT, AT THE BEST OF TIMES I KNOW A LOT OF OF PEOPLE COMPLAIN ABOUT TRYING TO GET FACEBOOK, TWITTER OR YOUTUBE TO BE EXTRA RESPONSIBLE IN GETTING THE GARBAGE OFF THEIR SITE AND HAVING INFORMATION THAT'S MORE RELIABLE. YOU KNOW, IT'S EVEN MORE IMPORTANT NOW, OBVIOUSLY GIVEN THAT WHATEVER'S OUT THERE CAN ACTUALLY CAUSE DEATH. SO IN YOUR VIEW, ARE THOSE MAJOR SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS DOING ENOUGH TO SANITIZE THEIR SITES AT THE MOMENT?

The caption changes to "Clamping down on bad information."

Jane says YOU HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD WHEN YOU SAID THAT THE BEST OF TIMES THEY'RE NOT PARTICULARLY EFFECTIVE AT IT. FOR THE LAST THREE OR SO YEARS, GOVERNMENTS, ACTIVISTS, JOURNALISTS HAVE BEEN CALLING ON SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS TO DO BETTER WITH THEIR WEBSITES. WITH CLEANING THIS UP. NOW, SOCIAL MEDIA WEBSITES HAVE BEEN WORKING WITH GOVERNMENTS TO GET THE GOOD INFORMATION OUT. THEY HAVE BEEN DOING THEIR BEST TO TRY TO STOP THE SPREAD OF MISINFORMATION. BUT IT IS CLEARLY NOT ENOUGH. AND THAT IS BECAUSE THEY DON'T HAVE THE ROBUST INFRASTRUCTURE IN PLACE TO BATTLE THE RUMOUR THAT IS ARE CURRENTLY COMING OUT. AND IF YOU THINK THE SITUATION IN ENGLISH IS BAD, PLEASE REMEMBER THAT THESE ARE GLOBAL PLATFORMS. WHERE THERE ARE MANY DIFFERENT LANGUAGES. DOZENS, IF NOTE NOT HUNDREDS. AND THERE MAY NOT BE THE FACT CHECKERS IN PLACE TO GET THAT GOOD INFORMATION TO PEOPLE WHO SPEAK THOSE OTHER LANGUAGES.

Steve says WELL, TIMOTHY WE'VE GOT ABOUT A MINUTE AND CHANGE TO GO HERE AND MAYBE I CAN USE THIS ANALOGY: IN POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS THEY OFTEN HAVE WAR ROOMS. SO IF THERE IS MISINFORMATION OR DISINFORMATION OUT THERE THE CAMPAIGNS JUMP ON THEM RIGHT AWAY AND SAY NO, THAT'S WRONG AND HERE'S THE TRUTH. ARE THERE ANY COVID-19 WAR ROOMS OUT THERE THAT YOU THINK WE CAN TRUST THAT WHEN THEY SEE BAD INFORMATION THEY'RE ON IT RIGHT AWAY AND WE GET IT FIXED?

Timothy says WELL, THEY'RE EMERGING. FOR EXAMPLE, THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION NOW HAS A GRATE GREAT LIST OF MYTHS. AND IN ADDITION TO THAT THEY HAVE AN INFO GRAPHIC THAT'S REALLY EASY TO SHARE. SO I ENCOURAGE PEOPLE, IF YOU ARE GOING TO SHARE SOMETHING SHARE SOMETHING LIKE THAT. GO TO A TRUSTED SOURCE. AND SHARE THEIR ITEMS. REALLY USEFUL. YOU CAN DO THAT. THERE ARE ALSO RESEARCH PLATFORMS AROUND THE WORLD AND PEOPLE LIKE JAINNA ARE DOING FANTASTIC WORK TO BUST MYTHS, SO GO TO THOSE SOURCES ALSO. I DO THINK IT'S GOOD NEWS THAT THE BIG PLATFORMS LIKE FACEBOOK, LIKE TWITTER, LIKE INSTAGRAM AND EVEN GOOGLE ARE RECOGNIZED IN THE ROLE THAT THEY'RE PLAYING. BUT THIS IS A BATTLE THAT'S GOING TO GO ON AND ON AND WE ALL NEED TO BE... WE ALL NEED TO BE VIGILANT.

Steve says WE'RE HAPPY IN OUR REMAINING SECONDS TO PUT UP YEVGENIYA LYTVYNENKO'S INFORMATION HERE THAT IF YOU DO SEE SOMETHING AND YOU WANT TO STOP THE SPREAD OF DISINFORMATION. THERE SHE IS. AT BUZZFEED.COM.

A slate appears that reads "Help track the spread of misinformation. Send examples of inaccurate Coronavirus information to Jane Lytvynenko. Email: jane.lytvynenko@buzzfeed.com; Twitter: @JaneLytv."

Steve continues IF YOU FIND HER LAST NAME IMPOSSIBLE TO SPELL YOU CAN GET HER ON HER TWITTER FEED AT JANELYTV AND YOU CAN ALSO PASS ON GOOD INFORMATION TO HER THERE. HEY, I WANT TO THANK BOTH OF YOU FOR COMING ON TO TVO TONIGHT AND HELP US OUT WITH THAT. YEVGENIYA LYTVYNENKO, TIMOTHY CAULFIELD, THANKS A LOT TO BOTH OF YOU.

The caption changes to "Producer: Eric Bombicino, @ebombicino."

Timothy says THANKS A LOT, STEVE.

Jane says THANKS FOR HAVING US.

Watch: COVID-19 Facts and Misinformation