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Saturday, June 19, 2021

Infodemic

This was a new word for me and I wanted to share it with you. Here is what it means:

“Infodemic is a blend of “information” and “epidemic” that typically refers to a rapid and far-reaching spread of both accurate and inaccurate information about something, such as a disease. As facts, rumors, and fears mix and disperse, it becomes difficult to learn essential information about an issue. Infodemic was coined in 2003, and has seen renewed usage in the time of COVID-19.”

”WHO explains that infodemics are an excessive amount of information about a problem, which makes it difficult to identify a solution. They can spread misinformation, disinformation, and rumours during a health emergency. Infodemics can hamper an effective public health response and create confusion and distrust among people.

— The United Nations Department of Global Communications (DGC), UN.org, 28 Mar. 2020”

Source: Merriam-Webster.com

An infodemic spreads like wildfire, every click on a computer’s keyboard is sending information that is more or less based on facts. A pandemic spreads through human interaction, physical interaction, but an infodemic is faster and requires no human touch or even presence. It is even harder to protect yourself from being infected by an infodemic because those who spread it can be very persuasive.

A while ago, I wrote about using rumours as a weapon and one of these weapons is an infodemic. Gossipping is small scale, rumours larger but an infodemic is spread worldwide and it spreads faster than anyone can imagine. What we all need to learn is source criticism. What that means is that we just can’t swallow the news as a whole, without hesitation or reflection, we need to search for the facts and look for the source. If the facts are coming from a serious source, like the UN or similar, we can be certain that these facts are based on science.

Source criticism requires some work and many times we are too lazy, or too upset or too busy to lay down the amount of time it takes to search for the truth. If we get the information from a source that we don’t like, or for some reason distrust, it can stop us from going further.

If we use Google as one of our sources we will always find the latest news / information first. Google doesn’t judge the news so even there we need to use our common sense when we read something. There are so many sources where we can search for information, or spread information, and the choices we make are showing the purpose of our search or spreading.

Another source is YouTube where you for example can find the infamous African-American woman Art Cathey. She lived in The Gambia for a while, but is now back in the US, still spreading a lot of trash. While Art Cathey lived in The Gambia she tried to make business, build or renovate houses that she wanted to sell to African-American people who wished to move back to their roots. If you listened to Art Cathey everything seemed great and she made a huge success. I have never trusted anyone who is bragging about their achievements. It seemed as I wasn’t alone thinking like that, because time showed that the ”success” was a fake.

Art Cathey promised a lot but was unable to keep her promises and people got angry and disappointed with her. One thing that made me really upset, and many with me, was the way she spoke about the Gambian people. In her eyes, you were nothing but stupid and lazy slaves. She painted her narrative with a wide brush, and that brush also hit white people like myself. That woman is full of hatred and I feel sorry for her. Unfortunately, Art Cathey has a lot of followers on her channel so it is easy for her to spread her message.

This woman seems to know some about medical herbs and she is selling her remedies through a website. I don’t know about the US and their product control system, but I know that here in Sweden all so called natural remedies are strictly controlled. Art Cathey is marketing her own remedies and at the same time, she is spreading what she calls ”facts” but they are only rumours about traditional vaccines. She is never telling her sources from where she has found her information. Instead she is just writing her mind in a way that makes others feel they are idiots if the disagree. Art Cathey is not the only one who has a hidden agenda, there are many like her out in the world and we need to be aware of them.

Information should have one purpose, and one purpose only, and that is to spread knowledge to people. When we read something that is making us question the information and the source we need to look deeper than to the surface. Ask yourself: ”Who is telling this and why?”

The Holy Qur’an is teaching us to use our brains and question what we learn, even if it is our parents or our Imam who is the source. For some of you, this might sound rude, but there is a lot of wisdom behind this. We are created by God and he knows us well. He knows that we can be lazy, not only physically but also mentally.

It is easy to just listen and learn, following the flock instead of being the troublesome one who has a lot of questions and who makes others annoyed.

We must allow ourselves, as well as others, to use our common senses and to question things in life. It is only then when we will have a progression in society.

Every generation comes with new ideas, new theories, and new inventions. Everything new is not a blessing, but the blessing can be disguised because we can learn something from them. It is easy to say that we must keep on doing things as they have always been, but nothing is as it always has been because there will always be small changes.

A while ago I read an article in this newspaper. A journalist had been asking people if they believed in prayer more than in taking the vaccine against Covid-19. I shouldn’t have been shocked by the reply, but most of those the journalist spoke to believed that prayer was stronger than the vaccine. Believing this is the same as you are testing God and that is not okay! You go gladly to the clinic to get your kids vaccinated against this or that, but suddenly you don’t believe in the vaccine anymore. God has created us with brains and he is telling us to use them. How come that the ”Holy Message of Internet” suddenly is stronger than the words of God?

We are in the middle of a pandemic, and the only thing that can save humanity is solidarity. Scientists are creating strong vaccines that will help us stop the pandemic. How come that some people believe they are smarter than scientists? Stop the infodemic and that will end the pandemic!

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