Workshop Proceedings of the 16th International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media

DOI: 10.36190/2022.64

Published: 2022-06-01
Reliability of Content and Echo Chambers on YouTube during the COVID-19 Debate
Niccolo Di Marco, Matteo Cinelli, Walter Quattrociocchi

The spread of inaccurate and misleading information may alter behaviours and complicate crisis management, especially during an emergency like the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper aims to investigate information diffusion during the COVID-19 pandemic by evaluating news consumption on YouTube. First, we analyse more than 2 million users' engagement with 13,000 videos released by 68 YouTube channels, labelled with a political bias and fact-checking index. Then, we study the relationship between each userÕs political preference and their consumption of questionable (i.e., poorly fact-checked) and reliable information. Our results, quantified using measures from information theory, provide evidence for the existence of echo chambers across two dimensions represented by political bias and the trustworthiness of information channels. We observe that the echo chamber structure cannot be reproduced after properly randomising the users' interaction patterns. Moreover, we observe a relation between the political bias of users and their tendency to consume highly questionable news.