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Govt. to intensify monitoring of coronavirus misinformation

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)
The South Korean government will step up efforts to contain misleading information online about coronavirus vaccines, as the country began its mass inoculation program last week.

According to the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters on Wednesday, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency and the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) will work together with internet portal sites and social media services to remove coronavirus falsehoods swiftly from their platforms.

Under the plan, the agencies can ask the businesses to review any problematic content according to their internal policies and delete it if necessary.

Also the government said it will refer a serious case to the police for further investigation.

Popular global social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have already run their own policy guidelines on COVID-19 related misinformation to fight against vaccine lies and rumors.

For their part, police agencies nationwide will run a team of special agents tasked with ferreting out misinformation and monitor falsehoods created and spreading online.

The KCC, which opened a webpage (www.kcc.go.kr/vaccinejebo) dedicated to the issue Wednesday, said there is a lot of vaccine-related misinformation spreading online, such as claims that vaccines cause dementia or paralysis, that refusing to get vaccinated leads to arrest or that the efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine is only 8 percent among people over 65.

The webpage is open to anyone who wants to anonymously report misinformation or rumors regarding coronavirus vaccines.

"We have noticed an increasing number of cases in which unscientific information stokes fears about vaccinations," an official from the headquarters said.

The country rolled out its vaccination program last week, starting with health workers and residents at nursing homes and senior care hospitals nationwide.

The government said it will continue working to eradicate falsehoods about vaccines and provide people with correct information to make them feel safe to get vaccinated. (Yonhap)
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