WEDNESDAY, Aug. 5, 2020 (HealthDay Information)
Folks getting their COVID-19 info from social media usually tend to obtain misinformation, Canadian researchers report.
However those that belief conventional media are much less more likely to have misperceptions. And so they’re extra more likely to follow public well being suggestions akin to social distancing, the analysis crew discovered.
For the research, researchers checked out tens of millions of tweets, 1000’s of reports tales and a survey of Canadians.
“Platforms like Twitter and Fb are more and more turning into the first sources of reports and misinformation for Canadians and folks around the globe,” mentioned researcher Aengus Bridgman, from McGill College in Montreal.
“Within the context of a disaster like COVID-19, nevertheless, there’s good purpose to be involved concerning the function that the consumption of social media is taking part in in boosting misperceptions,” Bridgman mentioned in a college information launch.
False details about COVID-19 is extra readily discovered on social media like Twitter than on conventional information retailers, Bridgman and colleagues discovered.
And so they noticed massive variations in behaviors and attitudes amongst individuals who get their information from social media as a substitute of conventional information. These variations remained even after accounting for components like scientific literacy and socioeconomic variations.
Those that use social media recurrently are much less more likely to maintain social distancing and to see COVID-19 as a risk, however for individuals who get their info from common information media it is the alternative, the researchers discovered.
“There may be rising proof that misinformation circulating on social media poses public well being dangers,” mentioned researcher Taylor Owen, an affiliate professor on the Max Bell Faculty of Public Coverage at McGill. “This makes it much more vital for policymakers and social media platforms to flatten the curve of misinformation.”
The report was not too long ago printed within the journal Harvard Kennedy Faculty Misinformation Evaluation.
— Steven Reinberg
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SOURCE: McGill College, information launch, July 31, 2020