GPs and public health professionals in Leeds will hold a Facebook Live session with the local public to help dispel misinformation about Covid-19 circulating online.
Leeds CCG has arranged a number of online health education sessions on the platform, in response to feedback from local people who are searching for trusted information.
Dr Mohammed Sattar, GP in Leeds, said: ‘There’s a lot of misinformation about coronavirus, you hear different things from a number of sources and feel overwhelmed with so much information that you don’t know what to believe.
‘The purpose of this Facebook Live session is to explore some of that misinformation. This includes social distancing, how [people] can reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus, when to get tested and myth busting. We want people to hear what GPs and other health professionals are saying to take away that learning, and to share with family, friends and people within their communities.’
There will be four GP speakers on the panel and the public will be able to submit questions in advance, or on the day of the live session.
Dr Sattar added that he hopes the session will uncover some of the information shared on social media, which may be ‘misleading and inaccurate’.
An Ofcom survey carried out in late March found that 46% of respondents came across false or misleading information about Covid-19, over a one-week period, while 40% admitted to finding it difficult to distinguish between the truth and falsehoods concerning the virus.
A recent study also estimated that, globally, roughly 800 people died and nearly 5,900 were hospitalised in the early months of the pandemic after following misinformation circulating on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. The report urged health authorities and local communities to debunk the rumours and conspiracy theories.
The CCG said it aims to deliver more educational sessions over the coming months, including around winter health and cancer signs, symptoms, and prevention.