If you’ve been online at all during this global pandemic, chances are you’ve come across COVID-related misinformation. And not just any misinformation, either — specifically, misinformation shared by Aussie influencers, who seem to have become beacons of anti-vaxxer logic.

It has honestly been sad, and kind of scary, how many celebrities and influencers have outed themselves with their problematic posts. Misinformation is becoming its own epidemic, and it’s about time social media does something to combat it.

On that note, Facebook Australia has partnered with misinformation prevention coalition First Draft, with a new campaign designed specifically for digital creators. Reality TV star Abbie Chatfield, who’s been super vocal about her crusade to end misinformation shared by celebrities online, is the first influencer to promote the campaign.

“All social media users have a responsibility to fact check the information they’re sharing… The last few years have showed us the power social media holds, for good and bad,” she said in an Instagram story.

“We don’t want to spread misinformation because when you spread something, that means all your followers see it and they think it’s true and it gets ingrained into their brains.

“Giving creators the tools to identify misinformation will hopefully create a trickle down effect and lessen the amount of misinformation spread by all users across platforms.”

The ‘Don’t Be A Mis-Influencer’ campaign, which is being rolled out across Facebook and Instagram today, is all about helping social media personalities and content creators figure out what is, and isn’t, misinformation. It’s not specifically about COVID misinformation, but about general dodgy info and online conspiracies.

“Your media profile means your voice is very influential,” First Draft’s toolkit warns.

“That’s why the people who try to spread disinformation want to use it. You have the audience and the voice they lack – so you’re an ideal host for them to piggyback onto.

“Ideally they want influencers like you to repeat their rumors. Even if you don’t believe the rumor, but still discuss it, that still works for them, as you are acting as a megaphone for their misinformation.

“Unfortunately the more a rumor is discussed and repeated – no matter how false it is – the more likely people are to believe it. So if you do need to address an issue or story, rather than simply repeating the rumor, focus instead on proven facts. Always lead with the truth.”

The toolkit then goes on to use examples to explain its points, like a post by Rihanna about Australia’s 2020 bushfires, which turned out to be a hoax. It’s actually super cool, and something I reckon *everyone* could benefit from. I can certainly think of a few WhatsApp-enthused aunties that could learn a thing or to from it.

The toolkit’s going to be shared directly with specific Aussie celebrities and influencers, who’ll also be encouraged to warn their followers about the dangers of misinformation.

Honestly, it’s a much-needed campaign on social media – let’s just hope influencers rise to the challenge and take it seriously.