Taiwan’s strategy of using “humor over rumor” to combat the spread of COVID-19-related fake news is something the world could learn from, a columnist for The Guardian wrote on Wednesday.
Arwa Mahdawi, a New York-based brand strategist, wrote that with a population of almost 24 million and only 9 COVID-19-related deaths, Taiwan has successfully curbed the spread of the virus by utilizing “nerd immunity.”
As opposed to “herd immunity,” Taiwan’s digital minister Audrey Tang remarked that the 2-2-2 “humor over rumor” strategy makes it easier for real information to become viral.
據Arwa Mahdawi 所述，唐鳳解釋道「2-2-2」代表每則假消息需要在發佈的20分鐘內得到回覆，回覆則需要少於200字，最後需要補上兩張好笑的圖片。
Mahdawi cited Tang’s “2-2-2 method” that requires “a response to misinformation is provided within 20 minutes, in 200 words or fewer, alongside two fun images.”
In the article, Mahdawi used the example of Premier Su Tseng-chang’s viral meme of him wiggling his bottom alongside the words, “We only have one pair of buttocks” in combating the false rumor toilet paper was being used to manufacture face masks.
Tang was also quoted by local Chinese-language media in saying that as long as the picture is funny enough, every meme can be equated to a vaccine, arming readers and viewers with immunity against misinformation.
In combining humor with past experiences of dealing with the 2003 SARS pandemic, Mahdawi concluded that the world could take some pointers from Taiwan and added that “a healthy democracy is built not from the top down, but from the bottom up.”