The Red Cross launched on Tuesday what it presents as the world's first network of influencers to fight disinformation about the new coronavirus and distribute essential content to the general public.
False information, conspiracy theories, inappropriate treatment, false prevention advice or misleading pandemic advertisements abound on social networks and the Internet.
On its website, the World Health Organization (WHO) draws up a long list of “myths” in circulation about COVID disease – 19 , like the supposed virtues of prolonged exposure to light to protect or cure it.
But this information does not reach all audiences and does not prevent the “infodemia” from spreading.
“Information verified in an emergency context is as important as the medical response,” said Nicola Jones, spokesperson for the International Federation of Red Cross Societies (IFRC), in a statement.
To reach young people, the IFRC and the marketing agency Billion Dollar Boy recruited around thirty people with a large audience on social networks, also known as “influencers”. Together, they have nearly two million subscribers in four countries, according to the IFRC.
This is the increase in traffic reported by Facebook on its various platforms.
Concretely, the IFRC will send them a message every week from which they can create their own content. This must be approved by the NGO before its dissemination.
Among the selected influencers, the Italian Antonio Nunziata, whose country is one of the most affected by the pandemic, followed by more than 230 000 subscribers, and Briton Katie Woods, whose blog on interior design is followed by almost 190 000 people.
Influencers from Mexico and the United Arab Emirates are also part of the project.
According to data from the Nielsen law firm, 33% of the people questioned in its surveys indicate spending more time on social networks in countries whose authorities have decreed a confinement. Facebook for its part indicates that the time spent on its various applications has increased by 70% since the start of the health crisis.