Misinfo, Disinfo, and Fake News in Egypt’s COVID-19 “Infodemic”

Source: The Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy

Author(s): Joey Shea

Original Link: https://timep.org/commentary/analysis/misinfo-disinfo-and-fake-news-in-egypts-covid-19-infodemic/

As early as February, the World Health Organization warned of a “massive infodemic” that was accompanying the COVID-19 outbreak. Social media and traditional media alike have been inundated with misleading and false information about the virus, while there is also a host of misinformation about the misinformation itself.

Egypt has unfortunately not been spared this “infodemic.” Because the Egyptian government’s frequently exaggerated claims of fake news allegedly concocted by bad actors as a cover for censorship at large, it is all the more difficult for concerned citizens to reasonably evaluate the extent of actual misinformation. In the current climate, however, it would be remiss to disregard these warnings about false news as simply the regime’s usual authoritarian posturing. This leads us to important questions about the nature and extent of COVID-19 misinformation on Egyptian networks: namely, what kinds of misinformation are circulating? Is the government responding effectively and proportionally?

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