COVID-19 misinformation was mainly spread online by bots in Facebook groups, study finds

Daily Mail
June 07, 2021

Bots were the primary driver behind the spread of COVID-19 misinformation online, a new study suggests.

Researchers looked at the sharing of different links related to the pandemic in more than 300,000 posts, mainly regarding the use of masks, made to Facebook groups.

They used the timing of certain links shared in these groups to measure the activity of bots. Frequent sharing, or multiple posts of the same link in groups only seconds apart, were a sign of bot activity. 

The team - led by the University of California San Diego in collaboration with researchers at George Washington University and Johns Hopkins University - are asking for Facebook and other social media giants to tighten restrictions  - but not all public heath experts agree that platforms should 'censor' misinformation.

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