Between Monday 01 February 2021 and Monday 08 February 2021, misinformation about Spread has increasead whereas misinformation about Other 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 01 February 2021 and Monday 08 February 2021.

238,803 Misinforming Tweets
New:+364 Trend:-693
125,044 Fact-checking Tweets
New:+1,413 Trend:-547
16,386 Fact-checks
101 Fact-checking Organisations

Key Content and Topics

During the period between Monday 01 February 2021 and Monday 08 February 2021, 364 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 Vaccine with an increase of +457 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 Causes with a change of +5 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. Vaccines: Information relating to vaccines (e.g., side effects, effectiveness).
  8. Masks: Information concerning the usage of masks.
  9. 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 Spread with a change of +51 compared to the previous total spread for the same topic whereas the topic that saw the least relative change was Spread with a change of -494 compared to the previous period.

The all time most important topic is Other with a total of 96,205 URL shares and the least popular topic is Symptoms with 2,732 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.youtube.com/watch?v=RFbQoEzcrZ0 Correctiv Authorities 104 42 146
https://www.unzensuriert.at/content/122859-gute-nachrichten-aus-strassburg-impfzwang-ist-ab-sofort-rechtswidrig/ Correctiv Vaccine 29 0 29
https://www.thenational.scot/news/19062017.covid-uk-scientists-rubbish-dido-hardings-claims-variant/ D├ętecteur de rumeurs Spread 27 0 27
https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/lab-made-coronavirus-triggers-debate-34502 LeadStories Conspiracy Theory 23 10 1916
https://www.pronews.gr/ygeia/959310_gia-mia-ayxisi-thanaton-365-kleidosan-tin-ellada-ti-deihnoyn-ta-stoiheia-tis-elstat Ellinika Hoaxes Conspiracy Theory 23 0 23
https://laufpass.com/corona/gefaelschte-totenscheine-tausende-aerzte-mit-einem-bein-im-knast/ Correctiv Conspiracy Theory 17 165 182
https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6936a5.htm D├ętecteur de rumeurs Other 17 8 1557
https://www.pronews.gr/ygeia/959579_ipa-kata-1600-ayxise-aythaireta-toys-thanatoys-apo-koronoio-o-cdc-anaferei-ekthesi Ellinika Hoaxes Conspiracy Theory 16 0 16
https://traugott-ickeroth.com/liveticker/ Correctiv Conspiracy Theory 11 2 378
https://principia-scientific.com/who-you-do-not-need-to-wear-a-mask/ TEMPO Authorities 10 88 98

Table 1: Top misinforming content.

Fact-check URL Topic Current Week Previous Week Total
https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2021/feb/01/ryan-fournier/biden-administration-didnt-lose-20-million-covid-1/ Vaccine 88 0 88
https://chequeado.com/el-explicador/es-falso-que-el-9998-de-las-personas-pueden-pasar-el-coronavirus-sin-vacunarse-y-que-todos-los-que-se-enferman-producen-anticuerpos-como-afirma-una-conductora-de-canal-26/ Spread 43 0 43
https://www.buzzfeed.com/jp/kotahatachi/vaccine-debunk Vaccine 43 0 43
https://maldita.es/malditobulo/20210204/galicia-campos-concentracion-aislamiento-positivos-covid-19-reforma-ley/ Authorities 42 0 42
https://efectococuyo.com/cocuyo-chequea/gargaras-cafe-sal-crema-dental-licor-ayudan-prevenir-covid-19/ Cure 39 37 90
https://www.thejournal.ie/debunked-dolores-cahill-covid-19-video-masks-lockdown-vaccines-5315519-Jan2021/ Conspiracy Theory 37 52 193
https://efectococuyo.com/cocuyo-chequea/vacunas-contra-covid-temblores-cuerpo/ Vaccine 36 0 36
https://www.animalpolitico.com/elsabueso/falso-lista-onu-mexico-no-compro-vacunas/ Vaccine 34 0 34
https://www.factcheck.org/2021/02/scicheck-video-uses-bogus-claims-to-stoke-race-based-fears-of-covid-19-vaccine/ Vaccine 34 0 34
https://maldita.es/malditobulo/20210205/policia-descubierto-11-personas-positivas-covid-19-lidl-gijon/ Other 31 0 31

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 101 fact-checking organisation based in 1000 countries and covering 46 languages.

The largest amount of fact-checked content comes from English (8,706 fact-checks) and the least is Finland (1 fact-checks). Most fact-checked content is in Spanish (4,577) followed by Portuguese (2,801) and Ukrainian (2,073) (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.