Coronavirus Misinformation: Weekly Briefings

/Coronavirus Misinformation: Weekly Briefings

Given the evolving nature of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic—and public understanding of the crises—we provide a weekly briefing about the spread of coronavirus information across multiple social media platforms.

We will be posting all coronavirus briefings to this page, so check back regularly for our latest research.

Read our Methodology FAQ here.

01 June 2020

For the week leading up to 01-06-2020 we find:

  • Coronavirus misinformation from junk health news and state-backed media generated up to 1.13 million engagements in a day. Summed together, 40% of the coronavirus misinformation engaged with last week came from state-backed news agencies, and 91% of that content was generated by Chinese and Russian media outlets.
  • In total, articles produced by junk health news sources were engaged with over two million times this week, although CNN articles were engaged with over eight million times, a much greater volume than any other single outlet.
  • Thematically, junk health news sources framed social distancing policies as attacks on religious freedoms.

Read the full briefing here.

26 May 2020

For the week leading up to 26-05-2020 we find:

  • Of all the junk news that social media users engaged with last week, 33% of it came from state-backed news agencies, and 96% of engagement with state-backed agencies involves media outlets from Russia and China.
  • In total, articles produced by junk health news sources were engaged with over five million times this week. On average, articles from state-backed media sources stimulated the most engagement.
  • Thematically, this week’s critical theme was how both state-backed and junk news sources used their platforms to try and undermine democratic consent for the lockdown.

Read the full briefing here.

18 May 2020

For the week leading up to 18-05-2020 we find:

  • Of all the junk news that social media users engaged with last week, 33% of it came from state-backed news agencies, and 83% of engagement with state backed agencies involves media outlets from Russia and China.
  • In total, articles produced by junk health news sources were engaged with four million times this week. On average, articles from state-backed media sources nonetheless stimulated the most engagement.
  • Thematically, prominent junk health news narratives this week included (1) misinformation around German intelligence reports alleging the WHO withholding information on Chinese request, and (2) attacks on Democrats over the HEROES Act.

Read the full briefing here.

11 May 2020

For the week leading up to 11-05-2020 we find:

  • Of all the junk news that social media users engaged with last week, 28% of it came from state-backed news agencies, and 91% of engagement with state backed agencies involves media outlets from Russia and China.
  • In total, articles produced by junk health news sources were engaged with four million times this week. On average, articles from state-backed media sources nonetheless stimulated the most engagement.
  • Thematically, prominent junk health news narratives this week included (1) intimations of virus origin from the Wuhan virology lab and (2) attacks on non-citizen status residents in the US through criticism of US Democratic Party proposals.

Read the full briefing here.

04 May 2020

For the week leading up to 04-05-2020 we find:

  • Of all the junk news that social media users engaged with last week, one third of it came from state-backed news agencies, and 98% of English language engagement with state backed agencies involves media outlets from Russia and China.
  • Content from state-backed sources is distributed to hundreds of millions of social media accounts; among mainstream media outlets only the New York Times had a social distribution network on par with that of state-backed media.
  • In total, articles produced by junk health news sources were engaged with almost five million times this week. On average, articles from state-backed media sources still stimulated the most engagement.
  • Thematically, prominent junk health news narratives this week included (1) allegations that hospitals exaggerate coronavirus cases and deaths, and (2) claims that Trump did not suggest direct disinfectant injections or defenses of that suggestion.

Read the full briefing here.

27 April 2020

For the week leading up to 27-04-2020 we find:

  • Content from junk health news and state-backed sources is distributed to hundreds of millions of social media accounts; the Washington Post had a social distribution network on par with that of state-backed media, due in part to the fact that they had a special article with Facebook, which then shared the article in some of the big pages it manages.
  • In total, articles produced by junk health news sources were engaged with over seven million times this week. On average, articles from state-backed media sources stimulated the most engagement.
  • Thematically, this week’s junk health news and information (1) focused on the “authoritarian” measures being instituted by elected governors across the US and (2) attacked prominent democrats such as Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi over the economic impacts of the coronavirus.

Read the full briefing here.

20 April 2020

For the week leading up to 20-04-2020 we find:

  • Content from state-backed media and junk health sources is distributed to hundreds of millions of social media accounts, and the BBC, Guardian, New York Times, and Washington Post have roughly equal distribution to junk health news per article.
  • In total, articles produced by junk health news sources this week were engaged with over nine million times; though articles from state backed media sources inspired the most engagement on average.
  • Thematically, this week’s junk health news and information focused on (1) accusing the WHO of incompetence, providing false information, and Chinese bias, and (2) supporting US President Trump’s withdrawal of funding from the WHO.

Read the full briefing here.

 

2020-06-01T12:19:00+01:00June 1st, 2020|Research, Working Papers & Data Memos|