Coronavirus Goes Viral: Quantifying the COVID-19 Misinformation Epidemic on Twitter.

Publication date: Mar 13, 2020

Background Since the beginning of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic, misinformation has been spreading uninhibited over traditional and social media at a rapid pace. We sought to analyze the magnitude of misinformation that is being spread on Twitter (Twitter, Inc., San Francisco, CA) regarding the coronavirus epidemic. Materials and methods We conducted a search on Twitter using 14 different trending hashtags and keywords related to the COVID-19 epidemic. We then summarized and assessed individual tweets for misinformation in comparison to verified and peer-reviewed resources. Descriptive statistics were used to compare terms and hashtags, and to identify individual tweets and account characteristics. Results The study included 673 tweets. Most tweets were posted by informal individuals/groups (66%), and 129 (19.2%) belonged to verified Twitter accounts. The majority of included tweets contained serious content (91.2%); 548 tweets (81.4%) included genuine information pertaining to the COVID-19 epidemic. Around 70% of the tweets tackled medical/public health information, while the others were pertaining to sociopolitical and financial factors. In total, 153 tweets (24.8%) included misinformation, and 107 (17.4%) included unverifiable information regarding the COVID-19 epidemic. The rate of misinformation was higher among informal individual/group accounts (33.8%, p:

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Concepts Keywords
Coronavirus Higher informal individual
Descriptive Statistics Information science
Epidemic Operating systems
Hashtags Information retrieval
Magnitude Coronaviridae
San Francisco Text messaging
Social Media Twitter
Twitter Hashtag


Type Source Name
drug DRUGBANK Montelukast

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