M&C Saatchi is aiming to reframe the sharing of stories and misguided advice about COVID-19 as a health risk in itself through a campaign with Infotagion and Iconic Labs called ‘Find the Truth. Isolate the Lies’.

Misinformation has become a serious issue throughout the crisis – with false claims about links to 5G internet and scepticism about vaccines being spread via platforms including Facebook and WhatsApp, causing greater pressure on the bodies aiming to control the pandemic’s spread.

The campaign – which launches today and can be seen on Instagram and Twitter at @infotagion – will let members of the public check facts by tagging any posts they see that might be dubious with the hashtag #isolatethelies, a free service offered by Infotagion, the fact-checking service set up by Iconic Labs and Damian Collins MP, former chair of the Culture, Media and Sport select committee.

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Infotagion is free and managed by the founders of Iconic Labs, who are also leading the direction and distribution of the campaign across traditional and social media.

The campaign features bold visuals linking misinformation to an infectious disease of its own.

It features lead strapline “Misinformation is also a disease that kills”, as well as messages including “False facts spread fast”, and “Lies are contagious too”.

As more false stories spring up, these will be added to the campaign, whose initial themes they are looking to counteract are of 5G causing COVID-19; ambulances being too busy to response to 999 calls; and the Royal London Hospital stockpiling body bags – all of which are falsehoods.

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Damian Collins MP, Founder of Infotagion, said:

“Alongside the rise in news coverage around COVID-19, we’ve seen an alarming increase in misinformation doing the rounds on the internet, causing harm to individuals who believe these messages.

We created Infotagion to encourage fact checking, and our work with M&C Saatchi raises awareness of some of the most common myths circulating at the moment, exposing them for the lies they are.”

Liam Harrington, director of Iconic Labs, said:

“We are delighted to be working with M&C Saatchi on this project. They have unprecedented experience which has taken Infotagion to the next level.

This, matched with our expertise in digital and social, has allowed us to tailor relatable content to different demographics which will result in a successful, shareable campaign combatting fake news, which is what Infotagion is aggressively doing.”

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Tom Firth, Managing Director of M&C Saatchi, added:

“We work on a number of public health initiatives, including creating campaigns for the NHS and PHE, and we have a vested interest in the health and wellbeing of the general public.

We were stunned by the volume of misinformation and the speed at which it travels and wanted to do something to help people determine fact from fiction. If you’d like to support it and help to isolate the lies, please get in touch.”