Swine Flu Misinformation Runs Rampant on Twitter
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the swine flu is a type-A influenza virus that affects pigs, manifesting itself as a respiratory illness before typically resulting in outbreaks among swine. Of course, as most of us now know, the disease can also spread to humans. So far, 40 U.S. citizens have fallen victim to the virus this year. According to the CDC, only one person remains hospitalized while the others have fully recovered. Still, mass hysteria and paranoia -- with voices wailing over an 'epidemic' -- continue to sweep the Net, especially Twitter.
The CDC, through its own tweets, has sought to quell concerns over a possible outbreak. The CDC's official tweeters have reassured folks that the virus cannot be contracted by eating pork, but that it instead spreads through coughing, sneezing or touching something contaminated with the virus. The flu typically affects people who come into close contact with pigs, such as farmers, but some twitterers seem to ignore the facts in favor of spreading fear. According to NetEffect, one such tweet read, "Don't eat pork from Mexico!!," and another, "Pig = Don't eat." One paranoid member even expressed fear of a germ warfare attack.
This should be an obvious message, but, if you want to follow the swine flu's movements, or any news for that matter, you should probably check out an actual news service, and not Twitter. While the site offers unparalleled, immediate access to celebrities, friends and family, it doesn't exactly provide accurate details of current events, unless you enjoy sharing a mob mentality with fellow fear-mongering sheep. If anyone wanted to pull off another Wellesian 'War of the Worlds' freak-out, Twitter would be an ideal place to start.
The two most popular searches on Twitter pertain to the swine flu, so, if you are determined to follow the disease's progression through the site, that's okay with us. We'd just suggest you read actual, informative tweets on flu facts, prevention and treatment from the most reliable source, the CDC, and not some guy named RandomPyro13. [From: NetEffect and Bloglines]