An unpublished U.S. State Department study estimated that about 2 million tweets promoted conspiracy theories about the coronavirus over the three-week period when the epidemic started to cross over from China.
Claims that the pathogen was caused by a bioweapon and other hoaxes comprised 7% of total tweets investigated, and were "potentially impactful on the broader social media conversation," said the report. The State Department's Global Engagement Center concentrated on nations excluding the U.S. between Jan. 20 and Feb. 20.
Some misinformation displayed "evidence of inauthentic and coordinated activity," suggesting deliberate attempts by malefactors to create panic and discord. The report also found that traditional media outlets helped to counter bogus but popular websites that peddled false narratives.
From The Washington Post
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Abstracts Copyright © 2020 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA
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