DOI: 10.36190/2020.16

Published: 2020-06-05
Prevalence of Low-Credibility Information on Twitter During the COVID-19 Outbreak
Kai-Cheng Yang, Christopher Torres-Lugo, Filippo Menczer

As the novel coronavirus spreads across the world, concerns regarding the spreading of misinformation about it are also growing. Here we estimate the prevalence of links to lowcredibility information on Twitter during the outbreak, and the role of bots in spreading these links.We find that the combined volume of tweets linking to low-credibility information is comparable to the volume of New York Times articles and CDC links. Content analysis reveals a politicization of the pandemic. The majority of this content spreads via retweets. Social bots are involved in both posting and amplifying lowcredibility information, although the majority of volume is generated by likely humans. Some of these accounts appear to amplify low-credibility sources in a coordinated fashion.