“WhatsApp Auntys” Share Misinformation

With families forced to stay physically apart, a multigenerational flurry of digital communication has become the norm, making WhatsApp more than ever a “breeding ground for hoax messages.”
Early in the pandemic, King's College London PhD candidate Rianna Walcott noticed a theme among elders in the Black community: “WhatsApp auntys” spreading exponentially more chain messages promoting misinformation about the virus.

Elders’ mistrust of officials and mainstream media is understandable. “These hoax messages are hinged on our real and valid fears of anti-Blackness.”

But how can a younger generation delicately debunk such messages? Use respected people to make your point, suggests researcher Surer Mohamed.
Wellcome Collection

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