Employers are a trusted source of information about COVID-19 but face competition from disinformation


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According to new data from Forrester’s PandemicEX survey, employees trust their employers as a source of information about COVID-19 and the coronavirus more than they trust governments and social media sites. The takeaway for employers is that infrequent communication about this rapidly changing issue can leave employees anxious and more vulnerable to disinformation campaigns.

Disinformation Campaigns Designed To Stoke Outrage And Increase Anxiety Are Already Successful

The Washington Post reported on an unreleased report inside the US Department of State that found approximately two million tweets amplifying conspiracies related to COVID-19 from Jan. 20 to Feb. 10. These campaigns included falsifying the source of the virus, rampant racism, and other narratives designed to distort the truth. Riots and attacks in Ukraine began when a fake email stated that evacuees from China had contracted the virus.

Influence operations targeting healthcare aren’t new, and recent lessons from both the 2014 Ebola outbreak and the “anti-vaxxer” movement demonstrate that public anxiety over health-related issues is fertile ground for disinformation campaigns. Companies are an essential — and trusted — source of information about COVID-19, so they must communicate frequently or risk leaving their employees susceptible to disinformation campaigns.

This post was written by VP, Principal Analyst Jeff Pollard, and it originally appeared here.

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