Reddit Trying To Fight Coronavirus Misinformation - Which Subreddit Is Best News Source?

COVID-19, better known as coronavirus, continues to spread across the globe. Originating from the Wuhan province in China, cases of the disease have spiked around the world, creating a sense of apprehension in large cities and small towns alike. Coughs on subways cause awkward moments, and surgical face masks are being worn by those who might not fully understand how this personal protective equipment works. In an era where information comes at you from every angle, sometimes it can be tough to separate the paranoia from cold, hard facts.

Reddit, the popular forum website best known for hosting discussions about cute animals, video games and everything in between, offers those curious about the virus a place to congregate. R/Coronavirus has over 450,000 members and focuses on sharing news stories and information verified by moderators. R/COVID-19, with 36,000 members, takes a more scientific approach, sharing statistics and studies about the disease. r/China_Flu, with 83,000 subscribers, falls somewhere in the middle of both communities.

Other subs have also started to pop up to discuss the disease that may not vet their information as fully as the above-mentioned larger ones. r/Wuhan_Flu calls itself a place for "uncensored" discussion, which has led to the sub being "quarantined" over the past week, meaning before one enters , users must be logged in to an account to approve a "misinformation or hoax" warning. The moderation team on that particular sub tries not to ban specific sources, regardless of their track record of legitimacy.

reddit coronavirus censor misinformation r/
Reddit promoting r/CoronaVirus in banners on the front page and notifications to mobile users Newsweek

In an effort to combat the spread of misinformation on or off the platform, reddit is promoting r/CoronaVirus as a vereified way to learn about the disease. A notification sent to users on the reddit mobile app linked to that sub and suggested visiting "to get the latest updates on the virus." The subreddit is also being promoted on the front page of the website with the banner "KEEP YOURSELF SAFE AND INFORMED."

When all is said and done, it can be difficult to discern which coronavirus forum offers the best information. Using unpaid moderators makes policing these communities increasingly difficult, but reddit remains vigilant. Promoting the more safeguarded options and "quarantining" the seemingly bad actors is a solid step in the right direction, but it may not fully solve the issue. There needs to be a better solution besides hiding the areas reddit doesn't want you to see. Luckily, we've done the research to make sure you stay informed in the best ways possible.