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Misinformation more likely to use non-specific authority references: Twitter analysis of two COVID-19 myths | HKS Misinformation Review

By Joseph McGlynn, Maxim Baryshevtsev & Zane A. Dayton
September 4, 2020

This research examines the content, timing, and spread of COVID-19 misinformation and subsequent debunking efforts for two COVID-19 myths. COVID-19 misinformation tweets included more non-specific authority references (e.g., “Taiwanese experts”, “a doctor friend”), while debunking tweets included more specific and verifiable authority references (e.g., the CDC, the World Health Organization, Snopes). Findings illustrate a delayed debunking response to COVID-19 misinformation, as it took seven days for debunking tweets to match the quantity of misinformation tweets. The use of non-specific authority references in tweets was associated with decreased tweet engagement, suggesting the importance of citing specific sources when refuting health misinformation.

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Source: Misinformation more likely to use non-specific authority references: Twitter analysis of two COVID-19 myths | HKS Misinformation Review

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