Collective dynamics of health opinion contagion: the COVID-19 infodemic and its effects on decision making processes
The prevalence of health misinformation was the highest on Twitter and on issues related to smoking products and drugs. However, misinformation on major public health issues, such as vaccines and diseases, was also high. Our study offers a comprehensive characterization of the dominant health misinformation topics and a comprehensive description of their prevalence on different social media platforms, which can guide future studies and help in the development of evidence-based digital policy action plans.
We find that, despite popular influencers being involved in the campaign, it is governmental and nonprofit accounts that attract the most retweets. Furthermore, examining the tweeting language of users engaged with this content, we find linguistic categories concerning women, family, and anxiety to be mentioned more within the 15 days after the intervention, and categories concerning affiliation, references to others, and positive emotion mentioned less. We conclude with actionable implications for future campaigns and discussion of the method’s limitations.
Health Misinformation on Social Media
This project aims to assess the relationship between social media and public health.