Misinformation about the coronavirus is threatening to overwhelm tech platforms

Women in Hong Kong sitting on the street with sanitary masks to prevent coronavirus infections.

Women in Hong Kong sitting on the street with sanitary masks to prevent coronavirus infections. | Photo by Miguel Candela/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

One result of a world in which everyone has more or less equal access to publishing tools has been what’s sometimes called an epistemic crisis: a scenario in which large groups of people muddle along with very different understandings of reality, undermining the ability of elected officials to govern. This might be particularly scary during a catastrophe, when citizens are relying upon their government for accurate and potentially life-saving information. If you can’t trust official government announcements — or you are misled into thinking that an official-sounding hoax is real — catastrophes might begin compounding upon one another.

The global outbreak of a coronavirus that originated in China has given us fresh reason to consider the…

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