Understanding high-and low-quality URL Sharing on COVID-19 Twitter streams

Abstract

This article investigates the prevalence of high and low quality URLs shared on Twitter when users discuss COVID-19. We distinguish between high quality health sources, traditional news sources, and low quality misinformation sources. We find that misinformation, in terms of tweets containing URLs from low quality misinformation websites, is shared at a higher rate than tweets containing URLs on high quality health information websites. However, both are a relatively small proportion of the overall conversation. In contrast, news sources are shared at a much higher rate. These findings lead us to analyze the network created by the URLs referenced on the webpages shared by Twitter users. When looking at the combined network formed by all three of the source types, we find that the high quality health information network, the low quality misinformation network, and the news information network are all well connected with a clear community structure. While high and low quality sites do have connections to each other, the connections to and from news sources are more common, highlighting the central brokerage role news sources play in this information ecosystem. Our findings suggest that while low quality URLs are not extensively shared in the COVID-19 Twitter conversation, a well connected community of low quality COVID-19 related information has emerged on the web, and both health and news sources are connecting to this community.

Publication
In Journal of Computational Social Science (JCSS)
Kornraphop Kawintiranon
Kornraphop Kawintiranon
Ph.D. Candidate in CS

My research interests include AI/ML and NLP.

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