Given the evolving nature of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic—and public understanding of the crises—we provide a weekly briefing about the spread of coronavirus information across multiple social media platforms.
Key highlights this week:
- Of all the junk news that social media users engaged with last week, one third of it came from state-backed news agencies, and 98% of English language engagement with state backed agencies involves media outlets from Russia and China.
- Content from state-backed sources is distributed to hundreds of millions of social media accounts; among mainstream media outlets only the New York Times had a social distribution network on par with that of state-backed media.
- In total, articles produced by junk health news sources were engaged with almost five million times this week. On average, articles from state-backed media sources still stimulated the most engagement.
- Thematically, prominent junk health news narratives this week included (1) allegations that hospitals exaggerate coronavirus cases and deaths, and (2) claims that Trump did not suggest direct disinfectant injections or defenses of that suggestion.
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