New study investigates early claims of COVID-19 'infodemic'

The Hill
January 12, 2022

The “infodemic” many say has been sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic is actually a general feature of online health information, new research suggests.

In a study of public social media posts shared in 2019 and 2020, at the outset of the pandemic, researchers found health misinformation had been spreading long before the first case of COVID-19 was detected.

“At the start of the pandemic, governments and organizations around the world started paying attention to the problem of health misinformation online,” David Broniatowski, the study’s lead author and associate director of the George Washington University’s Institute for Data, Democracy and Politics, said in a news release. “But when you compare it to what was going on before the pandemic, you start to see that health misinformation was already widespread.”

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