How can public health officials use social media to communicate important messages about COVID-19 to the public amidst rampant misinformation and disinformation? What causes certain messages about risk to break through online while others get lost in the noise? Dr. Jeanette Sutton, an associate professor in the Department of Communication and the Director of the Risk and Disaster Communication Center at the University of Kentucky, and Dr. Joan Donovan, the Research Director at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, both discuss misinformation, disinformation, and social media during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Dr. Sutton talks about her research early on in the development of social media and how risk communicators have come to use these platforms. In particular she talks about the difficulty of public health authorities and other officials to break through the algorithm to reach the public. Dr. Donovan talks about how her research studying media disinformation and bad actors intersects with Coronavirus misinformation and disinformation online. She emphasizes the need for social media companies to be proactive in curation and engage with independent researchers to identify potential manipulation. They both discuss the potential of future response and research of social media and disinformation as it relates to COVID-19 and other disasters. In this episode the obituary of Krist Guzman of Bolingbrook, IL is read in remembrance of her life. For further reading: Risk Communication and Social Media” in Risk Conundrums: Solving Unsolvable Problems “Social-Media Companies Must Flatten the Curve of Misinformation” AsapSCIENCE “Republicans Want Twitter to Ban Chinese Communist Party Accounts. That’s a Dangerous Idea.”


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