World Jewish Congress, UNESCO, European Commission, Twitter launch digital resources to counter COVID-19 conspiracy theories 

17 Aug 2020


NEW YORK – The World Jewish Congress is joining the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in launching a series of accessible, comprehensive visual learning resources to raise awareness of the existence and consequences of conspiracy theories linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. The resources address how to recognize conspiracy theories, understand what drives them, refute them with facts, and respond effectively to those who are spreading them. #ThinkBeforeSharing is a partnership among UNESCO, the WJC, Twitter, and the European Commission. 

World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder said of the partnership effort, “UNESCO has demonstrated great leadership in countering dangerous misinformation about the COVID-19 public health crisis, and I commend Twitter and the European Commission for using their powerful platforms to help amplify strategies to share facts about this disease and its roots. We have seen a troubling rise in antisemitic and xenophobic conspiracy theories since the start of the pandemic, which pose great threat to those they attack. People need to know how to identify conspiracies and shut down the spread in order to disseminate the truth.” 

In an UNESCO release, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay underlined the dangers of misinformation and rumors in relation to the pandemic and other issues. “Conspiracy theories cause real harm to people, to their health, and also to their physical safety. They amplify and legitimize misconceptions about the pandemic, and reinforce stereotypes which can fuel violence and violent extremist ideologies,” she said. 

The infographics, available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish, are being disseminated on social media via the hashtag #ThinkBeforeSharing, UNESCO MIL CLICKS social media pages, and through the European Commission’s website on fighting disinformation.  

Věra Jourová, Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency, said, “Disinformation and conspiracy theories harm the health of our democracies – this has been made very clear in the context of a global pandemic. Citizens must be equipped with useful tools to recognize and debunk them. To support citizens, public institutions need to work together and with digital platforms, media professionals, fact checkers and researchers, as the European Commission and UNESCO are doing.” 

About the World Jewish Congress
The World Jewish Congress (WJC) is the international organization representing Jewish communities in 100 countries to governments, parliaments and international organizations.
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