Alliance for Pandemic Preparedness

November 2, 2020

Assessing the Risks of ‘Infodemics’ in Response to COVID-19 Epidemics



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A study of Twitter messages from multiple countries early in the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic identified a co-occuring “Infodemic”: the rapid and widespread dissemination of misinformation or content from unreliable sources. Analysis of more than 100 million tweets indicated that waves of misinformation preceded the rise of COVID-19 infections, but content quickly shifted towards more credible information as infections rose. Infodemic risk was correlated with news sources, but not country-level socioeconomic development. The authors suggest that the effectiveness of COVID-19 containment could depend on a switch in communication strategies and countering most active sources of unreliable news, especially in countries where infodemic risk is high.

Gallotti et al. (Oct 29, 2020). Assessing the Risks of ‘Infodemics’ in Response to COVID-19 Epidemics. Nature Human Behaviour.