What do experts mean by “misinformation” in the COVID-19 era? A critical scoping review protocol

Chaufan, Claudia, Hemsing, Natalie, Heredia, Camila and McDonald, Jennifer (2023) What do experts mean by “misinformation” in the COVID-19 era? A critical scoping review protocol. International Journal of Scholarly Research in Multidisciplinary Studies, 03 (02). 001-010.

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.56781/ijsrms.2023.3.2.0080


In April 2020, the World Health Organization released the report Managing the COVID-19 infodemic: A call to action,declaring that “the 2020 pandemic of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) [had] been accompanied by a massive ‘infodemic.’” Soon afterwards UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres tweeted -also alluding to COVID-19 -that “a tsunami of misinformation, scapegoating and scaremongering [had] been unleashed” also in relation to COVID-19. The tweet was followed by a March 2021 report from the Centre for Health Security at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, warning that “health-related misinformation and disinformation” were undermining the public response to COVID-19, and by a February 2022 US Department of Homeland Security infographic, Disinformation Stops With You”, alerting about the dangers of “misinformation”, “disinformation”, and “malinformation” –dubbed MDM -distinguishing these terms based on the presumed intentionality of the agents producing or spreading them. However, there has been scant interrogation of expert meanings of MDM in the COVID-19 context and of the implications of the premises underlying these meanings for public policy, equity, and civil, social, and political rights. Drawing from the traditions of critical policy, discourse, and document analysis, we will apply Arksey O’Malley’s framework, enhanced by Levac et al.’s team-based approach, to conduct a critical scoping review of the medical and social scientific peer-reviewed literature, identifying, summarizing, and appraising expert meanings of MDM. We will also assess the implications of our findings for the health and well-being of populations affected by policies informed by dominant concepts of MDM.

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