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Study Finds Social Media Responsible For Spreading Misinformation About Coronavirus

Those who relied on social media and internet at beginning of pandemic were more misinformed and were likely to believe in conspiracy theories about COVID-19

Study finds social media responsible for spreading misiformation about coronavirus

A new study has found that social media is the primary source of spreading fake news about coronavirus infection. The study published in the journal Harvard Kennedy School of Misinformation Review revealed that people who relied on social media and internet at the beginning of the pandemic were more misinformed and were likely to believe in conspiracy theories about COVID-19 virus. Meanwhile, the pandemic has killed 2,07,008 and infected 2,995,152 across the world with a majority in mainland US.

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US adults were surveyed

The study was based on a  survey, the Annenberg Science Knowledge survey on COVID-19, which was conducted in March on 1008 adults across America. The study involved researchers from the University of Pennslyvania and University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. From the survey, researchers found that people’s perception of coronavirus was dependent on their media consumption. They also found that conservative media usage "highly correlated" with the level of misinformation and belief in a conspiracy about the COVID-19 pandemic.

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In addition, it also found that over 23 per cent of people believed that the Chinese have created the virus as bioweapon while 21 per cent believed that taking vitamin-C could prevent coronavirus infection. According to the researchers, “social media or web aggregators”, usage was associated with lower levels of information and higher levels of misinformation. Elaborating further, the researcher revealed that people using social media Facebook, Twitter and Youtube were more likely to believe that Vitamin C could prevent infection of the coronavirus and that some people in the CDC were exaggerating the harm. In addition, they also believed that the virus was created by the US  government. Meanwhile, people who used web aggregators were more likely to not believe in the effectiveness of handwashing and avoiding symptomatic individual so as to prevent the virus.

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Image credits: AP

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