COVID-19 explained to young people: the infodemic

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As part of the series of video clips SCOOP! on COVID-19, we are now talking about infodemia, this overabundance of information, credible or not, which leaves the field open to medical disinformation, conspiracy theories, rumors, hijacked photos and videos, attempts to scams or hoaxes ... To flatten the curve of fake news, SCOOP! explains to young people how to sharpen their reflexes in search of truth!

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As part of the SCOOP capsule series! on COVID-19, today we are interested in the infodemic, this overabundance of information, credible or not, which gives a hard time to anyone who tries to navigate it.

👀 Background

Medical misinformation, conspiracy theories, rumors of government measures, hijacked photos and videos, attempted scams or hoaxes, false information about COVID-19 spreads faster than the virus. SCOOP! explains in video how to sharpen your reflexes in search of truth.

Infodemic, you say?

This new portmanteau, formed from the fusion of the words "information" and "epidemic", characterizes the unprecedented phenomenon of the spread of information of all kinds concerning COVID-19 on the Web.

“More than ever, conspiracy theories are popular. The charlatans who sell fake miracle cures are rubbing their hands. Fake news puts on their best clothes. And all of this is particularly worrying at a time when correct and accurate information is nothing more or less than a matter of life and death. "

La Presse, April 5, 2020

Sorting out information and disinformation in this ocean of content can be quite an achievement today. People need to be reassured, to know all the answers, to have a feeling of control over the situation. In these times of crisis, it's easy to let emotions get the best of your senses. This is why we find so much content with questionable intentions that can lead to different cognitive biases, thereby altering critical judgment. Some gurus and charlatans therefore take advantage of the situation to influence and rally as many people as possible to their cause.

“Adherence to certain conspiracy theories is often more widespread among young people. This can be explained in particular by the fact that they are more inclined to shun traditional media and to get information on social media. "

La Presse, April 5, 2020

To doubt or to trust?

To doubt or to trust? This should be the question to ask yourself every time you see new information appearing on your favorite social network. The TikTok, Snapchat and Twitch of this world remain fertile ground for disinformation and the sharing of “fake news” among young people. Among older people, Facebook remains the platform where the most falsehoods are spread.

“Last January, a study published by the American journal Science Advances revealed that Facebook users over 65 spread fake news seven times more than young people. However, young or old, we are all likely to fall for it. "

La Presse, April 5, 2020

It is important, even essential, in the context of the current crisis, to choose credible sources of information when it comes time to get informed, such as Radio-Canada, La Presse, The news, Science-Press Agency, the École branchée. In addition to trusting these media that publish reliable content, web specialists have set up platforms where they sift through an impressive amount of news to disentangle the true from the false. Les Décrypteurs de Radio-Canada, the rumor detector from the Agence Science-Presse and the Decoders of the newspaper Le Monde are experts in dealing with fake news that spreads on social media. They set the record straight and tell you the truth, among other things, on everything related to COVID-19.

On peut soi-même effectuer ce travail de vérification en trois étapes simples lorsqu’on consulte des sources d’information :

1- Vérifier l’énoncé.

On peut copier les citations importantes d’un article dans Google pour voir si d’autres médias en parlent de la même façon. Si on aperçoit plusieurs fautes d’orthographe, on peut douter de la crédibilité. Bien sûr, il faut lire plus loin que le titre pour prendre connaissance adéquatement du contenu. Regardez également la date de l’article. De vieilles publications reviennent souvent dans le fil d’actualité et passent pour des faits nouveaux. L’argumentaire est-il fondé sur le point de vue d’amateurs ou y a-t-il des preuves qui sont fournies par des experts?

2- Check the source.

On peut vérifier le nom de la source dans Wikipédia. Si c’est crédible, il y a de bonnes chances de s’y retrouver. Remarquez bien comment est écrite l’adresse Web. Par exemple, est fiable, mais l’est sûrement moins. On peut aussi écrire l’URL d’un site Web ou son nom dans le Decodex du journal Le Monde pour vérifier si la source est digne de confiance. Il faut également faire attention au contenu commandité ou aux partenariats. S’il y a un parti pris ou une rémunération, il est permis de douter de l’impartialité de ce qu’on voit.

3- Vérifier l’image.

On peut vérifier la crédibilité d’une photo en faisant une recherche inversée dans Google Images. On pourra alors constater si l’image en question a été utilisée ailleurs. Vérifiez aussi la légende sous l’image. Une source fiable donnera le crédit au propriétaire de la photo. Des sites comme ou le Youtube DataViewer d’Amnistie Internationale fournissent plusieurs informations sur la provenance de photos et de vidéos. Le jugement et un bon sens de l’observation peuvent aussi indiquer si une photo a été modifiée dans Photoshop.

🔎 Learn more

Pour aider l’éducation aux médias, diverses ressources existent. Par exemple,,, and fournissent tous les outils nécessaires pour aider à contrer les fausses nouvelles. On peut aussi tester ses aptitudes pour distinguer le vrai du faux à travers différents jeux-questionnaires.

In the meantime, to avoid spreading false news, it would be good to keep in mind a very simple piece of advice that applies to everyone, young and old, recalls Ève Beaudin. “The same way we tell people, 'Wash your hands for 20 seconds', you also have to say,' Really take 30 seconds to check the source.

La Presse, April 5, 2020

☝️ L’heure du quiz

Click here to have access to a quiz created from the Quizizz platform. You will be in "practice" mode, so no adult is required to start the quiz. You will even have all the time you want to answer the questions.

For teachers, use this link to access the quiz. Then click on “Play Live”. A window will open to assign the parameters of your choice. Now click on “Host game” and invite the students to go to by providing them with the game code that appeared on the screen. When everyone is ready to begin, click on “Start”.

Have a good quiz!


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