Local governments work to counter misinformation about coronavirus

Colorado Politics: After Thornton residents sent him screenshots of someone claiming online that the city’s water supply was unsafe due to the COVID-19 coronavirus, Todd Barnes fired back on Nextdoor in all caps.

“YOUR WATER IS SAFE!” wrote Barnes, the communications director for the city. “Please people, let’s be responsible with the information that is shared during this difficult time.”

Barnes, who has worked for Thornton for 20 years, is one of the many public employees seeking to swat down misinformation and rumors on social media that can be routinely conspiratorial on a good week and alarmist during a pandemic. He is not able to see everything, particularly on Nextdoor, where only those who are verified neighborhood residents can post to their community’s message board.

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