As coronavirus spreads around the world, so do rumors on social media. Perhaps you’ve seen this list of tips, which includes quasi-scientific-sounding statements such as “Drinking warm water is an effective way to wash the virus into your stomach, where it is killed.” It started as a viral Facebook post, and even CVS’s Chief Medical Officer circulated similar advice of it to the company’s 300,000 employees. It’s bogus.
No one wants to spread bad information—but for non-scientists, it can be hard to distinguish facts from rumors. I asked a couple of experts in the ethics of science journalism on how best to use social media responsibly in the age of coronavirus.