New CDE research on misinformation and COVID-19, in the US context

CDE member Dr Gillian Bolsover has published a data memo analysing how health misinformation was received and responded to on US social media in the case of President Donald Trump’s comments about UV light and disinfectant based treatments on 23 April 2020. This project was undertaken in collaboration with POLIS student and Laidlaw Scholar Janet Tokitsu Tizon. The research analyses a random sample of 250 tweets from within top political trending topics on Twitter. Posts fell into established politically partisan narratives and dominated discussion of both politics and COVID in the days following. Contestation of the comments was much more prevalent than support. Supporters attacked media coverage in line with existing Trump narratives. Contesters responded with humour and shared mainstream media coverage condemning the comments. These practices would have strengthened the original misinformation through repetition and done little to construct a successful refutation for those who might have believed them. For a summary of this research, see our latest blog post.

Image credit: “covid-19” by Prachatai is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0