The COVID-19 social media infodemic

Sci Rep. 2020 Oct 6;10(1):16598. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-73510-5.


We address the diffusion of information about the COVID-19 with a massive data analysis on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Reddit and Gab. We analyze engagement and interest in the COVID-19 topic and provide a differential assessment on the evolution of the discourse on a global scale for each platform and their users. We fit information spreading with epidemic models characterizing the basic reproduction number [Formula: see text] for each social media platform. Moreover, we identify information spreading from questionable sources, finding different volumes of misinformation in each platform. However, information from both reliable and questionable sources do not present different spreading patterns. Finally, we provide platform-dependent numerical estimates of rumors' amplification.

MeSH terms

  • Basic Reproduction Number
  • Betacoronavirus*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology
  • Data Analysis
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination
  • Linear Models
  • Neural Networks, Computer
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Social Behavior
  • Social Media*