Information quality of reddit link posts on health news

Haichen Zhou, Bei Yu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Entry/PoemConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


Inaccuracy has been a common problem in news coverage of scientific research. This problem has been particularly prevalent in health research news. Health research news usually spreads from research publications and press releases to news and social media. In this study we examined the information quality of the Reddit link posts that introduce health news stories. We developed a coding schema to annotate the inaccurate information in a sample of 250 link posts on health research news within the Reddit community r/Health in 2018. The result shows that most link posts simply copied the original news headlines verbatim, while some paraphrased the news stories by adding, deleting, replacing, and combining content. We found that 12 paraphrased link posts contained inaccurate information that may mislead the readers. The most common type of inaccuracy is exaggeration resulted from changing the original speculative claims to direct causal statements by removing the modal verbs such as “may” and “might”. The result shows that although the link posts of health news were generally faithful to the original news stories, exaggerated claims may lead to false hope for researchers and patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSustainable Digital Communities - 15th International Conference, iConference 2020, Proceedings
EditorsAnneli Sundqvist, Gerd Berget, Kjell Ivar Skjerdingstad, Jan Nolin
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9783030436865
StatePublished - 2020
Event15th International Conference on Sustainable Digital Communities, iConference 2020 - Boras, Sweden
Duration: Mar 23 2020Mar 26 2020

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume12051 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference15th International Conference on Sustainable Digital Communities, iConference 2020


  • Health news
  • Information quality
  • Paraphrasing
  • Reddit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


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