09:35 GMT19 April 2021
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    The COVID-19 conspiracy theories have been on the rise throughout the pandemic, spreading across the internet and claiming that coronavirus is a hoax, and declaring that vaccines are a method for implanting microchips in humans to control the population.

    Faith groups in the UK are fighting COVID-19 misinformation on WhatsApp applying the same tactics as the groups sharing them.

    The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) assistant secretary-general told Sky News that the past 12 months have been an information war.

    “Some of the stuff that we're seeing going around definitely goes into the territory of deliberate misinformation,” Wajid Akhter said. "WhatsApp is a very specific lawless wasteland of social media," he added.

    The MCB and British Islamic Medical Association have been fighting misinformation, by quickly spreading correct information.

    "We didn't spend too much time trying to make it perfectly classically designed,” Akhter said, adding that there’s no time to lose since it’s easy for an anti-vaxxer to “flick on his camera, rant for 60 seconds, and send it off”.

    The Hindu Council UK Rajnish Kashyap also said that misinformation on social media was fuelling vaccine hesitancy.

    “Religiously targeted messages falsely claimed that vaccines contain animal products. For Muslims, it was pork and for Hindus it was beef,” he told Sky News.

    In April last year, WhatsApp reduced the number of times a message could be forwarded on the platform to disrupt false Covid-19 claims.

    Twitter announced at the beginning of the month that it begins applying labels to Tweets that may contain misleading information about COVID-19 vaccines.

    The UK Department of Health and Social Care announced this week that around one-third of the UK population have already received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged that every adult in the UK should be offered a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of July.

    Tags:
    misinformation, WhatsApp, COVID-19, US
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