Publication Date: April 2020
Research and Editorial Team: Dr. J. Scott Brenne, Felix Simon, Dr Philip N. Howard, Professor Rasmus Kleis Nielsen

Experts from the Reuters Institute analysed a sample of 225 pieces of fact-checked misinformation published between January and March 2020.

They found a massive growth in fact-checks about COVID-19. Little coronavirus disinformation is completely fabricated, most is "reconfigured" misinformation.

All disinformation is technologically simple (“cheap fakes”), not employing deep fakes or other AI-based tools.

While only 20% of misinformation is produced or spread by public figures, they have the most engagement on social media (69%). Still, some bottom-up individual pieces were occasionally able to generate large volumes of engagement.

Much misinformation concerns the actions of public authorities (39%).

Social media platforms have responded to much, but not all misinformation identified by fact-checkers, and the percentages of false posts that still have no warning label differs across platforms: 59% on Twitter, 27% on YouTube, and 24% on Facebook.

Tags: Fake news and disinformation Social media Fact-checking COVID-19

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