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Between Monday 03 August 2020 and Monday 10 August 2020, misinformation about Authorities has increasead whereas misinformation about Conspiracy Theory 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 03 August 2020 and Monday 10 August 2020.

237,776 Misinforming Tweets
New:+2,269 Trend:+1,181
87,583 Fact-checking Tweets
New:+1,877 Trend:-329
10,803 Fact-checks
98 Fact-checking Organisations

Key Content and Topics

During the period between Monday 03 August 2020 and Monday 10 August 2020, 2,269 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 Authorities with an increase of +2,123 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 +8 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 Authorities with a change of +1,080 compared to the previous total spread for the same topic whereas the topic that saw the least relative change was Authorities with a change of -164 compared to the previous period.

The all time most important topic is Other with a total of 90,473 URL shares and the least popular topic is Vaccine with 381 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://twitter.com/mehmetcilingiro/status/1290169900846088196 Teyit Authorities 871 0 871
https://twitter.com/vivirsinalergia/status/1291841195430289412 Efecto Cocuyo Cure 553 0 553
https://www.worldometers.info/ Agencia Ocote Authorities 456 494 21409
https://twitter.com/coskunomer23/status/1291074726572503040 Teyit Authorities 136 0 136
https://twitter.com/OsmarTerra/status/1291027459429761031 Estadão Verifica Authorities 30 0 30
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_AyuhbnPOI Faktograf Other 29 20 3495
https://www.mediterranee-infection.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Hydroxychloroquine_final_DOI_IJAA.pdf TjekDet.dk Cure 21 32 2021
http://www.francesoir.fr/le-confinement-tout-ce-que-lon-ne-vous-pas-dit-aberration-humaine-sanitaire-economique Les Décodeurs Authorities 16 16 243
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 13 18 47
https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1241367239900778501 Salud con lupa Cure 8 207 11258

Table 1: Top misinforming content.

Fact-check URL Topic Current Week Previous Week Total
https://colombiacheck.com/chequeos/tradujeron-mal-frase-de-tedros-sobre-solucion-la-pandemia-de-covid-19 Authorities 101 0 101
https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/may/06/blog-posting/dont-fall-conspiracy-about-dr-anthony-fauci-hydrox/ Cure 83 274 689
https://piaui.folha.uol.com.br/lupa/2020/07/01/verificamos-stf-bolsonaro-covid/ Authorities 57 17 116
https://www.buzzfeed.com/jp/kensukeseya/abe-beaver-tonton Other 57 0 57
https://chequeado.com/el-explicador/no-consumir-dioxido-de-cloro-no-cura-el-coronavirus-y-es-peligroso-para-la-salud/ Cure 47 1 69
https://www.factcheck.org/2020/07/herman-cain-died-of-covid-19-not-cancer/ Other 44 122 166
https://www.factcheck.org/2020/06/fake-aoc-tweet-politicizes-covid-19-business-restrictions/ Authorities 31 16 371
https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/may/21/facebook-posts/disposable-homemade-masks-are-effective-stopping-a/ Spread 27 26 524
https://factuel.afp.com/manifestation-anticoronavirus-berlin-attention-aux-photos-sorties-de-leur-contexte Conspiracy Theory 27 5 32
https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/jun/03/facebook-posts/claim-florida-undercounting-covid-19-deaths-uses-f/ Other 27 3 276

Table 2: Top fact-checked content.


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/).