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.

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03 August 2020

Engagement Trends for the last 28 days. Based on authors’ calculations using data collected 23/07/2020-30/07/2020.

For the seven days prior to 30-07-2020 we find:

  • The social media distribution network of all coronavirus articles from the top fifteen mainstream news outlets reached over three billion social media users this week, achieving much greater distribution than state-backed and junk health news sources. But the average article from state-backed sources reached over 8,900 users, while the average article from mainstream sources reached slightly above 4,400 users and the average junk health article reached above 3,200 users.
  • Similarly, on aggregate content from mainstream sources gets the largest amount of total user engagement. But on a per article basis, state-backed news receives 90 engagements and junk health news receives over 125, while average articles from mainstream sources get just above 25 engagements.
  • In total, 30% of the engagement with non-mainstream information last week was with state-backed content. Furthermore, 41% of such engagements were with Chinese content, whereas 58% were with Russian content.
  • Thematically, the key junk health news theme was pushing damaging narratives about the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for the coronavirus.

Read the full briefing here.

28 July 2020

For the seven days prior to 23-07-2020 we find:

  • The social media distribution network of all coronavirus articles from the top fifteen mainstream news outlets reached over three billion social media users this week, achieving much greater distribution than state-backed and junk health news sources. But the average article from state-backed sources reached over 9,000 users, while the average article from mainstream sources reached slightly below 4,400 users and the average junk health article reached just above 3,300 users.
  • Similarly, all content from all mainstream sources gets the largest amount of total user engagement. But on a per article basis, state-backed news receives nearly 80 engagements and junk health news receives just above 70, and average articles from mainstream sources get just above 25 engagements.
  • In total, 38% of the engagement with non-mainstream information last week was with state-backed content. Furthermore, 42% of such engagements were with Chinese content, whereas 56% were with Russian content.
  • Thematically, the key junk health news theme was sowing distrust in US State Health Officials.

Read the full briefing here.

20 July 2020

For the seven days prior to 16-07-2020 we find:

  • The social media distribution network of all coronavirus articles from the top fifteen mainstream news outlets reached over three billion social media users this week, achieving much greater distribution than state-backed and junk health news sources. But the average article from state-backed sources reached over 9,000 users, while the average article from mainstream sources reached slightly below 4,400 users and the average junk health article reached just above 3,400 users.
  • Similarly, all content from all mainstream sources gets the largest amount of total user engagement. But on a per article basis, state-backed news receives 100 engagements and junk health news receives 70, and average articles from mainstream sources get just above 25 engagements.
  • In total, 53% of the engagement with non-mainstream information last week was with state-backed content. Furthermore, 28% of such engagements were with Chinese content, whereas 70% were with Russian content.
  • Thematically, key junk health news themes were (a) discrediting other news sources on coronavirus, and (b) prison releases due to coronavirus in California.

Read the full briefing here.

13 July 2020

For the seven days prior to 08-07-2020 we find:

  • The social media distribution network of all coronavirus articles from the top fifteen mainstream news outlets reached over three billion social media users this week, achieving much greater distribution than state-backed and junk health news sources. But the average article from state-backed sources reached over 8,000 users, while the average article from mainstream sources reached slightly below 4,500 users and the average junk health article reached just below 3,500 users.
  • Similarly, all content from all mainstream sources gets the largest amount of total user engagement. But on a per article basis, both state-backed news and junk health news receive between 75 and 100 engagements, and average articles from mainstream sources get just over 30 engagements.
  • In total, 41% of the engagement with non-mainstream information last week was with state-backed content. Furthermore, 37% of engagements with state-backed media were engagements with Chinese content, whereas 60% was with Russian content.
  • Thematically, key junk health news themes were (a) misleading reports of the epidemic status of coronavirus in the US and (b) recent increases in violence in Chicago.

Read the full briefing here.

07 July 2020

For the seven days prior to 01-07-2020 we find:

  • The social media distribution network of all coronavirus articles from the top fifteen mainstream news outlets reached over three billion social media users this week, achieving much greater distribution than state-backed and junk health news sources. But the average article from state-backed sources reached over 8,500 users, while the average article from mainstream sources reached slightly below 4,500 users and the average junk health article reached just over 3,300 users.
  • Similarly, all content from all mainstream sources gets the largest amount of total user engagement. But on a per article basis, state-backed news gets over 100 engagements, junk health news gets fewer than 75 engagements, and average articles from mainstream sources get just over 25 engagements.
  • In total, 49% of the engagement with non-mainstream information last week was with state-backed content. Further, 36% of engagements with state-backed media were engagements with Chinese content, whereas 60% was with Russian content.
  • Thematically, key junk health news themes were (a) implicit criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement, (b) continuing narratives that coronavirus is not as dangerous as portrayed, and (c) fueling distrust in public health experts.

Read the full briefing here.

30 June 2020

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22 June 2020

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15 June 2020

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08 June 2020

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01 June 2020

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26 May 2020

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18 May 2020

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11 May 2020

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04 May 2020

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27 April 2020

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20 April 2020

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2020-08-03T11:23:17+01:00August 3rd, 2020|Research, Working Papers & Data Memos|