December 3, 2021

Why authentic communications is critical: COVID-19 and the spread of fake news

A never-ending cycle of political crises


Written by: Beatriz Moraes, Account Executive @ Yulu PR

Since Donald’s Trump presidential election in 2016, we have continued to be exposed to the term “fake news.” It first began as a strategy to spread misinformation about his opponent, Hillary Clinton, and then Donald Trump managed to convince millions of Americans that the fake news was true, and ended up as one of the most controversial and polarizing presidents in history.

Nowadays, however, fake news has been diffused and is not only in the political sphere. Throughout the pandemic, lots of questions and concerns have given rise to the spread of fake news, making the world even more confused about the virus and its consequences. 

It’s reasonable to say that people who were afraid started to ramble about anything that could save them from the unknown, leading to myths like the effects of eating certain vegetables, taking vitamins, or hydroxychloroquine being spread widely on social media, creating a breeding ground to spread fake news about the pandemic and, later, the vaccine. However, things started to get out of control as some worldwide leaders actively spread misinformation. That’s what happened to Brazil. 

Jair Bolsonaro started denying the pandemic, saying COVID-19 was nothing but a little flu. Having had the chance to close the borders, advise the population, and prepare for the virus, he decided to contradict the WHO (World Health Organization) and propagate more fake news. Urging Brazilians not to wear a mask, Bolsonaro went further and decided to follow his primary strategy, the “pre covid kit“: a cocktail of unproven drugs. 

Besides being ridiculed by the rest of the world, Brazil saw more than 600,000 deaths in two years and more than 22 million infected with the virus. Still, Bolsonaro claims to be proud of not implementing vaccinations, the reason why he was vetoed from many restaurants in the USA during his last visit to the country. Brazil’s president again spread misinformation, arguing that his immune system didn’t need the vaccine as it was strong enough to beat the virus itself. 

Whether a country, a company, or a personal image, spreading fake news is never a good strategy, as it brings with it a never-ending cycle of misinformation that can be hard to break. Brazil is just an example of how bad things can get when communications strategies are based on lies that cannot be supported long-term. Being responsible and honest with your target audience must always be the priority. 

At Yulu, we help our clients to tell the impactful stories of how they are benefiting society and future generations. We know how powerful communication is and how important it is to build relationships based on authenticity.