A few weeks ago, the New York Times warned of the dire effects of a prolonged shutdown of the US economy due to the Coronavirus. Recession is imminent — if it’s not happening already.
It’s not just the American government that is shutting down, all governments are shutting down.
The impact of COVID-19
World leaders are self-isolating right now. This has not prevented many of them from the impact. Boris Johnson almost lost his life after days in ICU. Luckily for him, he might live.
Everyone is impacted by this virus. This is why governments have announced sweeping aid packages to battle the virus including support for families and companies affected by the Coronavirus shutdown. Still, this might not stave off the inevitable.
There is not enough money in the world to bail out the airline and the cruise industry and all other industries that will be affected by the Coronavirus Infodemic. This is not to mention money to restock the grocery stores emptied by hoarders. Is this enough to support all people that are losing their jobs?
So what happens when we need to bail out whole industries that employ millions of people? We just finished bailing out all the banks. We almost didn’t make it through. Now we have to do it all again, and so soon?
This is going to get a lot worse before it gets better
Almost as bad as Coronavirus is misinformation about it. Why is there so much of it? Social media’s algorithms aren’t built for a pandemic. Platforms like Facebook privilege outrage because outrage generates clicks. What can ever go wrong?
As it turns out, these algorithms create a virus of misinformation. The avalanche of theories and conspiracy theories passed over social media has left us questioning the reality of all the information we see. Even worse, they may result in further deaths as many social media users dismiss COVID-19 as a hoax and ignore public medical warnings.
Governments have a hand in this. We no longer believe the legitimate government reports of the spread of the virus because governments have already been caught lying or withholding the true numbers. Back in December, China arrested a doctor for telling the public that the virus even existed. Imagine that, it backfired.
Hope in dark days ahead
All this has caused a panic over misinformation that is leading to a complete collapse of the world’s economy.
There are dark days ahead for all of us as the world shuts down over the coming months. We are all going to feel lonely and isolated in this new, one meter apart, non-social world.
Social media has created an infodemic that is going to have lasting real world effects on all of us even if Coronavirus miraculously disappears tomorrow. But there’s a sliver of hope. In this era of social distancing, now is the time to reach out to friends, family, and colleagues. Just because we have to be physically apart from each other doesn’t mean we can’t be virtually near.
This is how social media can be a force for good. Which is why now, more than ever, my team and I are focused on building a solution to this problem.
Will you join us?