The most frequently shared messages on Twitter and other social media during the coronavirus crisis came mainly from the mainstream media, health authorities, academics, politicians and… Greta Thunberg, a study by the VUB revealed on Wednesday.
The results come from work by VUB researchers Marlen Komorowski and Ike Picone, who developed a crawler to map the spread of information and the presence of fake news on Twitter during the coronavirus crisis.
Surprisingly, the researchers found that despite the threat of “fake news”, it seems that Twitter users are turning more often to reliable sources.
Researchers collected more than 50,000 tweets related to Covid-19 that were published by European Twitter users between 17 and 24 March this year. After analysing the number of “likes and retweets”, they determined which messages had generated the most interaction.
It emerged that tweets from well-known news channels such as Sky News or the BBC and public institutions such as the International Observatory for Human Rights or the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control were most often “retweeted” and “liked”.
Publications by influential academics, politicians and journalists, as well as well-known companies or personalities such as Greta Thunberg and Snapchat were also particularly shared.
“With this study, we do not want to deny that there is still fake news circulating on social media, but it shows that it is still useful for public institutions to be present to deal with misinformation and to make use of the reach of social media,” says researcher Marlen Komorowski.