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Between Monday 24 May 2021 and Monday 31 May 2021, misinformation about Conspiracy Theory has increasead whereas misinformation about Vaccine 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 24 May 2021 and Monday 31 May 2021.

306,270 Misinforming Tweets
New:+301 Trend:+33
148,109 Fact-checking Tweets
New:+1,335 Trend:+44
12,868 Fact-checks
101 Fact-checking Organisations

Key Content and Topics

During the period between Monday 24 May 2021 and Monday 31 May 2021, 301 new URLs have been identified as potential misinforming content. Out of the 10 topics identified by Fact-checking organisations (Figure 1), most of the new shared URLs were about Vaccine with an increase of +646 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 Face Mask with a change of +0 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 Conspiracy Theory with a change of +156 compared to the previous total spread for the same topic whereas the topic that saw the least relative change was Conspiracy Theory with a change of -158 compared to the previous period.

The all time most important topic is Authorities with a total of 124,754 URL shares and the least popular topic is Face Mask with 1 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 148 149 32762
https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2020/09/30/proof-that-the-pandemic-was-planned-with-purpose/ Newschecker Conspiracy Theory 41 18 1397
https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/lab-made-coronavirus-triggers-debate-34502 LeadStories Conspiracy Theory 16 4 2052
https://c19study.com Détecteur de rumeurs Cure 12 8 29191
https://traugott-ickeroth.com/liveticker/ Correctiv Conspiracy Theory 10 1 470
https://www.armstrongeconomics.com/world-news/corruption/belarusian-president-claims-imf-world-bank-offered-him-a-bribe-to-impose-covid-restrictions/ TEMPO Conspiracy Theory 7 2 740
https://www.foxnews.com/politics/coronavirus-wuhan-lab-china-compete-us-sources FactCheck Georgia Other 6 2 5073
https://twitter.com/zlj517/status/1238111898828066823 Taiwan FactCheck Center Authorities 5 0 26
https://www.frontliner.com.br/oms-condena-lockdown-nao-salva-vidas-e-torna-os-pobres-muito-mais-pobres/ Estadão Verifica Other 4 2 914
https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/coronavirus-contains-hiv-insertions-stoking-fears-over-artificially-created-bioweapon FactCheck.org Conspiracy Theory 4 1 3011

Table 1: Top misinforming content.

Fact-check URL Topic Current Week Previous Week Total
https://factuel.afp.com/http%253A%252F%252Fdoc.afp.com%252F9AT7LR-1 Vaccine 42 0 42
https://politica.estadao.com.br/blogs/estadao-verifica/discurso-de-premio-nobel-engana-ao-afirmar-que-vacinas-criam-variantes-e-agravam-pandemia/ Vaccine 35 0 35
https://www.factcheck.org/2021/05/scicheck-vaccine-ingredient-sm-102-is-safe/ Vaccine 31 0 31
https://correctiv.org/faktencheck/2020/05/20/nein-in-sars-cov-2-wurden-nicht-im-labor-sequenzen-von-hiv-eingefuegt Conspiracy Theory 29 10 71
https://politica.estadao.com.br/blogs/estadao-verifica/pesquisa-na-cidade-do-mexico-nao-e-capaz-de-provar-reducao-de-internacoes-por-covid-19-com-ivermectina/ Cure 29 10 39
https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2021/mar/31/blog-posting/european-database-does-not-prove-covid-19-vaccines/ Vaccine 22 16 108
https://www.factcheck.org/2021/05/scicheck-insurance-companies-provide-coverage-after-covid-19-vaccination/ Vaccine 20 0 20
https://www.factcheck.org/2021/05/post-misleads-on-japans-policy-for-donating-blood-after-covid-19-vaccination/ Vaccine 19 52 83
https://www.factcheck.org/2021/05/scicheck-instagram-posts-spread-texas-lawmakers-false-claims-on-vaccine-testing/ Vaccine 19 45 64
https://maldita.es/malditaciencia/20210525/luc-montagnier-premio-nobel-variantes-coronavirus-vacunas-covid-19/ Vaccine 19 0 19

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 101 fact-checking organisation based in 749 countries and covering 48 languages.

The largest amount of fact-checked content comes from English (7,002 fact-checks) and the least is Finland (1 fact-checks). Most fact-checked content is in Spanish (3,816) followed by Portuguese (2,333) and Ukrainian (1,335) (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/).