The global spread of the novel coronavirus is affected by the spread of related misinformation—the so-called COVID-19 Infodemic—that makes populations more vulnerable to the disease through resistance to mitigation efforts. Here, we analyze the prevalence and diffusion of links to low-credibility content about the pandemic across two major social media platforms, Twitter and Facebook. We characterize cross-platform similarities and differences in popular sources, diffusion patterns, influencers, coordination, and automation. Comparing the two platforms, we find divergence among the prevalence of popular low-credibility sources and suspicious videos. A minority of accounts and pages exert a strong influence on each platform. These misinformation “superspreaders” are often associated with the low-credibility sources and tend to be verified by the platforms. On both platforms, there is evidence of coordinated sharing of Infodemic content. The overt nature of this manipulation points to the need for societal-level solutions in addition to mitigation strategies within the platforms. However, we highlight limits imposed by inconsistent data-access policies on our capability to study harmful manipulations of information ecosystems.

The COVID-19 Infodemic: Twitter versus Facebook

Pierri F.;
2021-01-01

Abstract

The global spread of the novel coronavirus is affected by the spread of related misinformation—the so-called COVID-19 Infodemic—that makes populations more vulnerable to the disease through resistance to mitigation efforts. Here, we analyze the prevalence and diffusion of links to low-credibility content about the pandemic across two major social media platforms, Twitter and Facebook. We characterize cross-platform similarities and differences in popular sources, diffusion patterns, influencers, coordination, and automation. Comparing the two platforms, we find divergence among the prevalence of popular low-credibility sources and suspicious videos. A minority of accounts and pages exert a strong influence on each platform. These misinformation “superspreaders” are often associated with the low-credibility sources and tend to be verified by the platforms. On both platforms, there is evidence of coordinated sharing of Infodemic content. The overt nature of this manipulation points to the need for societal-level solutions in addition to mitigation strategies within the platforms. However, we highlight limits imposed by inconsistent data-access policies on our capability to study harmful manipulations of information ecosystems.
2021
Coordination
COVID-19
Facebook
Infodemic
low-credibility
prevalence
Twitter
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
20539517211013861.pdf

accesso aperto

: Publisher’s version
Dimensione 2.86 MB
Formato Adobe PDF
2.86 MB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11311/1183598
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 98
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 57
social impact