Disinformation during Covid-19 from a European Perspective
Michael Zinkanell: Disinformation during Covid-19 from a European Perspective, AIES Fokus 3/2020
Disinformation campaigns deliberately spread seeds of distrust, confusion, and deception. As a hybrid threat, disinformation is meticulously designed to enhance social division and undermine faith in political institutions. Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, an unprecedented surge of disinformation was detected by European institutions, which was recently labelled an "infodemic" by the World Health Organisation and led to the first-time use of the EU's Rapid Alert System for monitoring disinformation. The global virus outbreak revealed an invisible layer beyond the physical health crisis, which lies in its growing potential to virtually affect people's lives through transmitting false information. In this regard, the European Union and its Member States have increased their efforts to detect, categorise, and mitigate harmful disinformation linked to Covid-19, in order to safeguard the stability of their democratic foundations and protect their citizens.