Monday with Ms. Marvel: misinformation


Morgan Kong

In her weekly column, Monday with Ms. Marvel, Wingspan’s Trisha Dasgupta reviews different political issues and relatable topics in everyday life.

Trisha Dasgupta, Staff Reporter

In the wake of COVID-19, it has become more clear than ever as to how significant a role the internet plays in our daily life. As stay at home orders start to be implemented around the nation, schools are switching to online classes, workers are having online meetings, and many are getting their information through social media or online news sources. 

However as helpful as some social media accounts and news sites have been, there are many more who are spreading misinformation that is causing mass panic, which is an issue it’s time to address. 

Faulty sources, fake statistics, and ineffective precautions, as COVID-19 spreads, so does mass panic, and while caution and anxiety are normal during a pandemic, too much of it is being incited by rumors and lies.

One of the best examples of this can be seen in the mass panic buying that has resulted from the pandemic. Millions of people around the country flocked to grocery stores over the past couple of weeks to stock up on weeks worth of grocery, as there were internet rumors that there was soon to be a toilet paper and food shortage. 

While not everyone had seen those rumors, they probably did end up seeing other people panic buying, which led them to believe that they should stock up too. Misinformation led to panic buying which led to even more panic buying, which led to empty shelves in grocery stores, becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

This has been happening way before COVID-19 as well. Facebook has been under fire for years for the way they facilitate the spread of fake news and popular apps like WhatsApp have been found to be hubs for rumors and faulty information.

Misinformation on the internet has been an issue since its creation, but a lot has changed since then. We’ve all heard the phrase “just because you read it online doesn’t make it true” or some variation of that, but it’s time to take efforts to make that statement less accurate. 

Whether we like it or not, the internet has become a crucial part of the modern lifestyle and COVID-19 has really highlighted the ways our lives revolve around it. Our laws need to adapt to this change, and we need rules that will help regulate the spread of misinformation so that the next generation, who will be born into a world where the internet will be an intrinsic part of their life, won’t have to worry about fake news and faulty facts.