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A Pandemic more infectious than COVID-19?

Research from Carnegie Mellon University suggests 46% of Twitter accounts talking about Coronavirus are BOTS. Researchers deployed a “bot hunter” to analyse things like the no of followers, topics tweeted, frequency of tweeting, language, types of accounts they retweet, and their mentions network. They identified more than 100 false narratives which they divided into 6 categories: cures/preventative measures, weaponization of the virus, emergency responses, the nature of the virus, self-diagnosis methods and feel-good stories. The largest category targeted by BOTS was in cures/preventative measures and this category was the most likely to become international. Example of false narratives include:

  • Corona beer cures COVID-19

  • Drinking bleach cures COVID-19

  • 5G towers cause COVID-19

  • US developed SARS-COV-2 as a bioweapon

In most cases, the agenda is to sow distrust for political or monetary gain. It may be that video blogs (where you can see the actual person) end up being the only sure authentic form of social media communication.


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