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Between Monday 04 October 2021 and Monday 11 October 2021, misinformation about Other has increasead whereas misinformation about Authorities 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 04 October 2021 and Monday 11 October 2021.

349,723 Misinforming Tweets
New:+213 Trend:-86
173,040 Fact-checking Tweets
New:+693 Trend:-176
14,700 Fact-checks
102 Fact-checking Organisations

Key Content and Topics

During the period between Monday 04 October 2021 and Monday 11 October 2021, 213 new URLs have been identified as potential misinforming content. Out of the 9 topics identified by Fact-checking organisations (Figure 1), most of the new shared URLs were about Vaccine with an increase of +451 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 Masks 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. 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 Other with a change of +6 compared to the previous total spread for the same topic whereas the topic that saw the least relative change was Other with a change of -181 compared to the previous period.

The all time most important topic is Authorities with a total of 129,314 URL shares and the least popular topic is Masks with 12 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 110 144 35266
https://m.facebook.com/home.php Vistinomer Other 32 25 88
https://www.eldiestro.es/2021/09/escandaloso-se-descubre-que-varios-pacientes-hospitalizados-por-el-virus-que-contaban-historias-dramaticas-y-que-pedian-a-todo-el-mundo-que-se-vacunara-son-en-realidad-actores/ Animal Político Conspiracy Theory 14 0 34
https://www.armstrongeconomics.com/world-news/corruption/belarusian-president-claims-imf-world-bank-offered-him-a-bribe-to-impose-covid-restrictions/ TEMPO Conspiracy Theory 10 36 829
https://twitter.com/NICKIMINAJ/status/1437532566945341441 FactCheck.org Vaccine 8 18 30343
https://www.stylourbano.com.br/foi-descoberto-oxido-de-grafeno-nas-vacinas-o-que-torna-o-vacinado-uma-especie-de-condutor/ Agência Lupa Vaccine 5 6 55
https://www.stylourbano.com.br/o-cdc-dos-eua-retira-o-teste-de-pcr-devido-a-ele-nao-ser-capaz-de-distinguir-a-covid-dos-virus-da-gripe/ Agência Lupa Other 5 0 5
https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/lab-made-coronavirus-triggers-debate-34502 LeadStories Conspiracy Theory 4 1 2126
https://biohackinfo.com/news-bill-gates-id2020-vaccine-implant-covid-19-digital-certificates/ Factcheck.kz Conspiracy Theory 3 1 1470
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dswaElkiRO8 FactCheck.org Other 2 7 273

Table 1: Top misinforming content.

Fact-check URL Topic Current Week Previous Week Total
https://www.factcheck.org/2021/04/scicheck-idaho-doctor-makes-baseless-claims-about-safety-of-covid-19-vaccines/ Vaccine 38 92 642
https://healthfeedback.org/claimreview/no-data-available-to-suggest-a-link-between-indias-reduction-of-covid-19-cases-and-the-use-of-ivermectin-jim-hoft-gateway-pundit/ Cure 26 11 582
https://www.factcheck.org/2021/03/scicheck-viral-posts-misuse-vaers-data-to-make-false-claims-about-covid-19-vaccines/ Vaccine 25 25 463
https://factcheck.afp.com/us-cardiologist-makes-false-claims-about-covid-19-vaccination Vaccine 24 8 422
https://www.factcheck.org/2021/10/scicheck-white-house-and-hhs-employees-arent-exempt-from-vaccine-mandate/ Vaccine 23 0 23
https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2021/jul/23/tiktok-posts/biden-harris-doubted-trump-covid-19-vaccines-not-v/ Vaccine 20 25 377
https://www.factcheck.org/2021/08/scicheck-researcher-distorts-facts-on-covid-19-vaccine-approval-liability/ Vaccine 14 20 121
https://healthfeedback.org/claimreview/vaccines-are-a-safer-alternative-for-acquiring-immunity-compared-to-natural-infection-and-covid-19-survivors-benefit-from-getting-vaccinated-contrary-to-claims-by-peter-mccullough/ Vaccine 14 6 441
https://factcheck.afp.com/australian-news-report-about-new-covid-19-treatments-has-been-misleadingly-edited Vaccine 14 6 44
https://www.factcheck.org/2021/09/covid-19-the-unvaccinated-pose-a-risk-to-the-vaccinated/ Vaccine 13 23 103

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 102 fact-checking organisation based in 886 countries and covering 48 languages.

The largest amount of fact-checked content comes from English (7,806 fact-checks) and the least is Finland (1 fact-checks). Most fact-checked content is in Spanish (4,172) followed by Portuguese (2,495) and Ukrainian (1,764) (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.