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Between Monday 27 July 2020 and Monday 03 August 2020, misinformation about Cure has increasead whereas misinformation about Causes has reduced.

The Fact-checking Observatory is an automatic service that collects misinforming content on Twitter using URLs that have been identified as potential misinformation by fact-checking websites. Using this data, the Fact-checking Observatory automatically generates weekly reports that updates the state of misinformation spread of fact-checked misinformation on Twitter.

This analysis is limited to URLs identified by Fact-checking organisations. The collected data only consist of non-blocked Twitter content and may be incomplete.

This report updates the status of misinformation spread between Monday 27 July 2020 and Monday 03 August 2020.

235,507 Misinforming Tweets
New:+1,088 Trend:-222
85,706 Fact-checking Tweets
New:+2,206 Trend:-113
10,803 Fact-checks
98 Fact-checking Organisations

Key Content and Topics

During the period between Monday 27 July 2020 and Monday 03 August 2020, 1,088 new URLs have been identified as potential misinforming content. Out of the 8 topics identified by Fact-checking organisations (Figure 1), most of the new shared URLs were about Cure with an increase of +1,114 compared to the previous total spread for the same topic. The topic that saw the least increase in spread compared to the previous period total spread was Symptoms with a change of +7 compared to the previous total spread for the same topic.

The topics used for the analysis are obtained from the COVID-19 specific fact-check alliance database and are defined as follows:

  1. Authorities: Information relating to government or authorities communication and general involvement during the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g., crime, government, aid, lockdown).
  2. Causes: Information about the virus causes and outbreaks (e.g., China, animals).
  3. Conspiracy theories: COVID-19-related conspiracy theories (e.g., 5G, biological weapon).
  4. Cures: Information about potential virus cures (e.g., vaccines, hydroxychloroquine, bleach).
  5. Spread: Information relating to the spread of COVID-19 (e.g., travel, animals).
  6. Symptoms: Information relating to symptoms and symptomatic treatments of COVID-19 (e.g., cough, sore throat).
  7. Other: Any topic that does not fit directly the aforementioned categories.

In relation to the previous week, the topic that saw the biggest relative spread change was Cure with a change of +591 compared to the previous total spread for the same topic whereas the topic that saw the least relative change was Cure with a change of -747 compared to the previous period.

The all time most important topic is Other with a total of 89,904 URL shares and the least popular topic is Vaccine with 370 shares (Figure 2).

Figure 1: Topic Importance.

Figure 2: Amount of topic shares per week.

The top misinforming content and fact-checking articles shared since the last report are listed in Table 1 and Table 2.

Misinforming URL Fact-check URL Topic Current Week Previous Week Total
https://www.worldometers.info/ Agencia Ocote Authorities 494 472 20953
https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1241367239900778501 Salud con lupa Cure 207 8 11250
https://twitter.com/Jali_Cat/status/1287980277151797248 Animal PolĂ­tico Cure 36 0 36
https://www.mediterranee-infection.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Hydroxychloroquine_final_DOI_IJAA.pdf TjekDet.dk Cure 32 3 2000
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/06/us/politics/coronavirus-trump-malaria-drug.html Factcheck.kz Cure 22 3 3693
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_AyuhbnPOI Faktograf Other 20 25 3466
https://web.archive.org/web/20200506140801/https://onenewsnow.com/perspectives/bryan-fischer/2020/04/27/fauci-knew-about-hcq-in-2005-nobody-needed-to-die PolitiFact Cure 18 1 34
http://www.francesoir.fr/le-confinement-tout-ce-que-lon-ne-vous-pas-dit-aberration-humaine-sanitaire-economique Les DĂ©codeurs Authorities 16 12 227
https://www.freep.com/story/news/2020/05/05/michigan-capitol-building-protest-picture/3084192001/ PolitiFact Other 15 5 243
https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/lab-made-coronavirus-triggers-debate-34502 LeadStories Conspiracy Theory 12 9 1745

Table 1: Top misinforming content.

Fact-check URL Topic Current Week Previous Week Total
https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/may/06/blog-posting/dont-fall-conspiracy-about-dr-anthony-fauci-hydrox/ Cure 274 34 606
https://www.factcheck.org/2020/07/in-viral-video-doctor-falsely-touts-hydroxychloroquine-as-covid-19-cure/ Cure 175 0 175
https://www.factcheck.org/2020/07/herman-cain-died-of-covid-19-not-cancer/ Other 122 0 122
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/07/23/devoss-claim-that-children-are-stoppers-covid-19/ Authorities 52 598 650
https://chequeado.com/el-explicador/no-la-foto-que-publico-viviana-canosa-de-la-casa-rosada-no-es-actual/ Other 50 0 50
https://www.factcheck.org/2020/05/outdated-fauci-video-on-face-masks-shared-out-of-context/ Authorities 44 56 882
https://efectococuyo.com/cocuyo-chequea/hipoxia-mascarillas/ Other 28 27 335
https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/may/21/facebook-posts/disposable-homemade-masks-are-effective-stopping-a/ Spread 26 58 497
https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/jun/13/andrew-cuomo/new-yorks-nursing-home-policy-was-not-line-cdc/ Authorities 25 40 218
https://www.factcheck.org/2020/07/old-photo-shows-obama-fauci-at-u-s-facility-not-wuhan-lab/ Conspiracy Theory 21 25 97

Table 2: Top fact-checked content.

Fact-checking

The data used for creating the Twitter dataset is obtained from the Poynter Coronavirus Fact Alliance. The alliance consists of 98 fact-checking organisation based in 635 countries and covering 46 languages.

The largest amount of fact-checked content comes from English (6,130 fact-checks) and the least is Finland (1 fact-checks). Most fact-checked content is in Spanish (3,367) followed by Portuguese (1,998) and French (963) (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Amount of fact-checks by language.

Figure 4: Amount of fact-checked content per contry.

Determining a direct impact of fact-checking on the spread of misinformation is not easy. However, it is possible to determine how well a particular corrective information is spreading in relation to its corresponding misinformation.

Figure 5 shows how misinformation and fact-checking content has spread in various topics for the last two analysis periods and overall.

Figure 5: Topical misinformation and fact-checks spread.

Demographic Impact

Using automatic methods, Twitter account demographics are extracted for user age, gender and account type (i.e., identify if an account belong to an individual or organisation).

Figure 6 displays how misinformation and fact-checks are spread by different demographics.

Figure 6: Misinformation and Fact-check spread for different demographics. Top: Gender, Center: Age group, Bottom: Account type.

Data Collection and Methodology

The full methodology and information about the limitation and dataset used for this analysis can be accessed in the [methodology page](https://fcobservatory.org/faq/).