The battleground of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation on Facebook: Fact checkers vs. misinformation spreaders

Aimei Yang, Jieun Shin, Alvin Zhou, Ke M. Huang-Isherwood, Eugene Lee, Chuqing Dong, Hye Min Kim, Yafei Zhang, Jingyi Sun, Yiqi Li, Yuanfeixue Nan, Lichen Zhen, Wenlin Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

Our study examines Facebook posts containing nine prominent COVID-19 vaccine misinformation topics that circulated on the platform between March 1st, 2020 and March 1st, 2021. We first identify misinformation spreaders and fact checkers,2 further dividing the latter group into those who repeat misinformation to debunk the false claim and those who share correct information without repeating the misinformation. Our analysis shows that, on Facebook, there are almost as many fact checkers as misinformation spreaders. In particular, fact checkers’ posts that repeat the original misinformation received significantly more comments than posts from misinformation spreaders. However, we found that misinformation spreaders were far more likely to take on central positions in the misinformation URL co-sharing network than fact checkers. This demonstrates the remarkable ability of misinformation spreaders to coordinate communication strategies across topics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHarvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review
Volume2
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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