This editorial provides new perspectives from four continents to better understand how to mitigate the impact of controversial health and science topics on public engagement.
Digital media, especially online social networks, facilitate and foster mis/disinformation about health and science. The current infodemic has circulated false, life-threatening information about the origins of, and potential cures for, COVID-19. Many of the conspiracy theories are actually not new, but are recycled stories applied to the COVID-19 pandemic. This confirms that it is not technology alone that has created the infodemic problem; it is simply a catalyst for spreading mis/disinformation. The fundamental issue is that people are still willing to believe unmistakably unscientific or counterintuitive messages, especially when politicians, celebrities, and online influencers help perpetuate the falsehoods. Exploring how to effectively frame messages is key to reducing the acceptance of this mis/disinformation.