In March-April, numerous and varied disinformation was spread on social media. This part of the analysis presents the top 5 disinformation in the Albanian language regarding pandemic, COVID-19. In public posts on Facebook, the disinformation that had the greatest interactivity with over 13,000 was that of the American doctor, Rashid Buttar.
1 – American doctor shakes the world, shows the truth of coronavirus (interactivity: 13,309)
A video was posted on YouTube on April 16 suggesting that coronavirus is a bait to force the injection of “mandatory vaccine” and of microchips on humans. The video quickly garnered millions of views, despite YouTube’s promise to combat the misinformation associated with COVID-19. The video was published by The Next News Network, a YouTube channel that deals with conspiracy theories and is known for publishing suspicious and untrue information. In just four days, the video had surpassed 4 million views. This video with the interview of Dr. Rashid Buttar, who in a HuffingtonPost report is presented as an osteopath, widely discredited, had become news in Kosovo as well. Various Albanian-language media outlets reported on the interview, titled “The American Doctor Shows the World, Reveals the Truth of Koronavirus: No One Has Died, They Are Manipulations, The Vaccine Will Kill Us”. The video quickly went viral on Kosovo, reaching thousands of shares on Facebook.
2 – Something is going on! 40,000 US special forces land in EU countries around the Balkans! (interactivity: 6,170)
Viral was also made the disinformation, according to which the US special forces had landed in Europe as a result of the alleged tension between the United States and Russia, and the coronavirus has been used only as a distraction for citizens around the world. Also, in this disinformation, dilemmas arose about the existence of a vaccine and that the virus was not so dangerous. This misinformation has been presented with sensational headlines in some media in the Albanian language, such as, “Something is being fought! 40,000 US Special Forces land in EU countries, around the Balkans!”, “Tough relations with Russia, 20,000 US troops “land” in Europe” and “Let’s curb Russia! American fighter jets are ‘landing’ in Europe”.
3 – A Japanese doctor, here’s how to tell if you’re affected by COVID-19. (interactivity: 6,085)
Another viral disinformation was an advice to understand in a few seconds if you are infected with the virus, COVID-19. “Hold your breath for more than 10 seconds. If you manage to do this without coughing or showing signs of anxiety or tightness in the chest, then you are not affected” said the information, which was simply misinformation, because no health institution had confirmed this form to test for infection by the virus.
4 – Coronavirus is a fraud. Masons want to control the world. (interactivity: 4,963)
The disinformation video that showed that the coronavirus was just a hoax and ‘revealed’ that the Masons wanted to control the world had also gone viral on the internet. This conspiracy theory relates to the placement of microchips in the human body. According to this disinformation, COVID-19 was invented only to be used as a reason to place microchips in humans.
5 – Cure for virus C19 or ways to eliminate it. (interactivity: 4,330)
Another viral disinformation was the misguided, ostensibly medical, advice on ‘discovering’ the cure for COVID-19. “The recipe is simple – Lemon and Bicarbonate, mix and drink as hot tea …”, it was said, among other things, in the distributed message. However, the World Health Organization has clarified that there is still no pharmaceutical drug or product that can cure coronavirus.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM DISINFORMATION:
Infodemic is the ‘disease’ of unverified information that is placed in the public eye and, this virus can be transmitted from one person to another, as it opens and closes the eyes. “Clean your hands often”, however, but also to judge any information we receive and before we distribute it, to ask ourselves at least three questions, which are the best “vaccines” against information: Is it a reliable source? has this news been reported in another media? and, is it based on official sources? So, for the coronavirus pandemic, the vaccine has not been found yet, but for the infodemic, we already have the “vaccine”, it is enough to be careful and “vaccinated” with the above-mentioned questions to protect ourselves from the infodemic.