HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER) – The New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness updated its disinformation portal web page last week to incorporate monkeypox (hMPXV) disinformation trends circulating on the internet.
According to a recent intelligence review conducted by NJOHSP’s Analysis Bureau, false information on monkeypox (hMPXV) is spreading online and sparking new confusion about the virus among the public. Misleading videos, falsely attributed information and the recycling of COVID-19 conspiracies are some of the methods causing dissent.
“As we see an attempt to sow discord in New Jersey and throughout our country through the spread of disinformation, it is critical that we communicate accurate information to the public, especially as it relates to the monkeypox virus,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “My administration remains committed to a comprehensive response that prioritizes the health and safety of our communities. I urge New Jersey residents to utilize State resources for information about symptoms, risks and availability of both testing and vaccines.”
“During the height of the pandemic, COVID-19 disinformation was running rampant, prompting NJOHSP to develop a resource web page, whereby the public could access factual information that underwent thorough examination by our Analysis Bureau,” said NJOHSP Director Laurie Doran. “With the latest monkeypox outbreak, we want to avoid a repeat of events, where incorrect information spreads quickly across communities.”
Disinformation has the potential to incite panic, create distrust between the government and people, increase polarization, influence government actions or law enforcement responses, exhaust resources and bring about undue harm. Monkeypox (hMPXV) disinformation may cause people who are infected to avoid treatment or vaccination as they may feel stigmatized, hampering efforts to help those individuals and curb the outbreak.
“Our team collected and analyzed the data in our latest disinformation intelligence note to bring awareness to current monkeypox misconceptions,” said NJOHSP Intelligence and Operations Division Director Thomas Hauck. “The report provides recent disinformation examples and official sources to help the public with identifying and vetting any truth-obscuring, manufactured information.”
Members of the public who encounter information that contains a threat or a call to action, incites potential violence or appears to have a nexus to terrorism, should immediately report it to local law enforcement or to NJOHSP by contacting 1-866-4-SAFE-NJ (1-866-472-3365) or firstname.lastname@example.org.