UN to launch ‘Pause’ initiative to counter misinformation

The UN is going to a campaign to fight misinformation, particularly that on COVID-19 pandemic, telling people who are about to retransmit social media content to pause, a senior official.

The ‘Pause’ initiative will be launched on Tuesday to coincide with Social Media Day.

The idea of the initiative, ‘Pause’, is for people to “take care before you share”, Xinhua news agency quoted Undersecretary-General Melissa Fleming, head of the UN Department of Global Communications, as saying on Monday.

From the work of psychologists and misinformation experts on how misinformation is spreading, it is found that the way people share information plays a part, said Fleming.

“We hope that take-care-before-you-share starts to become a kind of social norm that people have in the back of their head and that will enable a personal behaviour change that will help – I’m just saying help – stop the spread of misinformation.”

She said the UN will work with social media platforms and technology companies to address the issue.

“Obviously, changing personal behaviour does help. But it’s not enough. Misinformation is spreading like a virus. It’s playing into people’s fears.

“Its creators are the masters of the platforms’ algorithms.”

Fleming said it is appropriate to launch an initiative that is “a bit of social distancing from social media”.