On 4 November 2020, UNICRI held a virtual meeting of the International Network on Biotechnology (INB), a global network of academic and research institutions developed by UNICRI, in cooperation with the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and committed to advancing education and raising-awareness about responsible life science.
The meeting was an occasion to discuss about COVID-19 disinformation on social media. In a report published in November 2020 entitled “Stop the Virus of Disinformation”, UNICRI described how terrorist, violent extremist and organized criminal groups have been trying to take advantage of the coronavirus pandemic crisis to undermine trust in governments and, at the same time, to reinforce extremist narratives and recruitment strategies. Terrorist, violent extremist and organized criminal groups have successfully exploited vulnerabilities in the social media ecosystem to manipulate people and disseminate conspiracy theories about the origin of COVID-19, its mode of transmission and possible cures.
The experts of the International Network on Biotechnology exchange views and possible actions to support governments and relevant sectors of the civil society (including academia, research institutions, groups of fact-checkers, technology companies) in their efforts to detect, debunk and pre-bunk COVID false information and conspiracy theories.
The participants commemorated Professor Mohammed Errami, a good friend of the International Network on Biotechnology and a great expert in international cooperation who has been another victim of the COVID-19.