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The Epic Battle Against Coronavirus Misinformation and Conspiracy Theories


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Tracking the spread of Covid-19 misinformation.

Scientists worldwide are scrambling to track and counter the spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories about the coronavirus pandemic.

Credit: Peeraya Apirachkul/UNICEF Thailand

Scientists worldwide are scrambling to track and counter the spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories about the coronavirus pandemic by understanding their origins and growth patterns.

Amil Khan with U.K.-based communications agency Valent Projects said rumormongers use social-media platforms designed to maximize user engagement, rather than to highlight evidence-based information.

Efforts to analyze social-media messages include a University of Southern California-released dataset of more than 120 million tweets on the coronavirus, while Manlio De Domenico at Italy's Bruno Kessler Institute uses automated software to review 7 million tweets daily on Covid-19.

De Domenico and colleagues gauge the tweets' emotional content and the region they were sent from where possible, then calculate their reliability by examining the sources to which a message links.

Also fighting misinformation are initiatives like the International Fact-checking Network, a global effort to compile a database of fact-checks of Covid-19 claims.

From Nature
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Abstracts Copyright © 2020 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


 

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