As the virus continues to sweep across the world, we have put together essential resources for those interested in tackling the coronavirus infodemic. On this page, you can find information on what the online platforms are doing to combat coronavirus mis and disinformation. You can find content on the narratives, trends, and strategies defining the infodemic, whether that’s via our weekly Disinfo Updates or research. Moreover, we have dedicated sections on free tools to use, commentary on the infodemic, as well as its impact on our societies. 

This page will be updated regularly. All resources are also available to view in this spreadsheet. 

Please reach out to us via the button below in case you think there’s something we should feature.

Internet communication companies are simultaneously under pressure to tackle disinformation on their networks, as questions are raised regarding the shift to private regulatory action, in which public scrutiny is almost entirely absent.

Highlights

Online platforms' responses to the infodemic

Friction!!! Charting the trend of slowing the velocity of content

In October, as many states entered the second wave of the Coronavirus and a parallel surge in health related misinformation, the UN urged people to pause before sharing information online with the hashtag #PledgetoPause. For their part, platforms have been experimenting more and more with “speedbump”, “friction“, or “circuit breaker” features. This technique slows the spread of content and allows for newly viral content to be temporarily stopped from spreading while it is fact-checked. Evelyn Douek has called this “the next frontier now that we’re wandering around outside the take-down/leave-up binary of content moderation.”

  • Facebook piloted a so-called ‘circuit-breaker‘ back in August, which helped reduce the spread of the Plandemic Sequel denialist video. 
  • Twitter added a step for retweets, nudging users to add a comment before amplifying that content.
  • Twitter has also developed a feature, not yet public, that would display a “misleading information” label when a user tries to “Like” a tweet that has been labeled as misinformation.
  • The US elections motivated other platforms to take similar measures, and suggest that friction – long considered a ‘bug’ to be overcome in favor of seemless, infinite reach – just might become a feature.
  • Twitter and Facebook both added friction to sharing in the week before the US elections that will slow the spread of Covid-related misinformation. For Covid-related memes and videos, Facebook will show you the date the content first appeared, so you can reconsider whether you still want to pass it along.

ACCOUNTABILITY: How effectively are platforms enforcing their new principles, policies and terms of service?

  • Our latest research shows loopholes in the enforcement of Facebook policies, indicating a discrepancy in consistent enforcement. We especially point to the fact that labelling of fact-checked disinformation on hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) can easily be overturned and lead to similar stories circulating without any labelling or context.
  • September 2020, Avaaz reporting shows how loopholes in Facebook’s content moderation of labeled misinformation, which allows debunked messages to continue circulating on the platform after minor tweeks.
  • Popular Information reports in October that Amazon has paid more than $40,000 to one of the leading sources of vaccine misinformation in the United States.
  • Antivaccine videos have managed to slip through YouTube’s advertising policies.
  • In November, Buzzfeed revealed how Facebook continues to profit from ads placed by the far-right organization Azov despite having banned the movement from the platform over a year ago.

Public authorities tackling the infodemic

Fact-checking & Journalism

Searchable libraries

Resources for journalists

  • CoronaCheck, a computational verification tool for coronavirus statistical claims, is a joint effort from the teams of Prof. Papotti at EURECOM and of Prof. Trummer at Cornell University. (available in English, Italian, French, and German).
  • WikiProject Medicine: This project brings together accurate information on health science. The editorial team accepts only citations of peer-reviewed papers, textbooks or reports from prominent medical centers and institutes.
  • We Verify on Covid-19: Speeding Up The Debunking Process.
  • Ethical Journalism Network “Ethical reporting in times of Covid”
  • Poynter’s COVID-19 Resources, including tools for fact-checking and tips for journalists.
  • First Draft’s repository of webinars for journalists covering the Coronavirus crisis.
  • The International Center for Journalists has created a Global Health Crisis Reporting Forum to connect journalists with some of the world’s top health practitioners, newsroom leaders and other experts, who can answer questions in live video chats.

Insights

Funding opportunities

Investigative Research

COVID-19 disinformation narratives and trends

COVID-19 disinformation actors and amplifiers

Identity polarisation

  • Coda Story has an exclusive on new research detailing how a series of Twitter hashtags have pushed Islamophobic disinformation to 170 million users since the outbreak of the pandemic.
  • Centre for Countering Digital Hate’s investigation on how the British far-right are blaming Muslims for the coronavirus.
  • In a co-investigation by BBC Click and the Institute of Strategic Dialogue, authors indicate how both extremist political and fringe medical communities have tried to exploit the pandemic online.

Conspiracy theories

Case studies

Foreign influence

Insights

Safeguarding democracy and fundamental rights

Empowering internet users

Access to credible information

  • Combating the disinfodemic: Working for truth in the time of COVID-19 – We have contributed to two UNESCO policy briefs that offer critical insights into the fast-growing COVID-19-related disinformation that is impeding access to trustworthy sources and reliable information.
  • NewsGuard’s Coronavirus Misinformation Tracking Center: Attempts to list news and information sites in the U.S., the U.K., France, Italy and Germany that are identified as publishing materially false information about the Coronavirus, as well as sites with unvetted, poorly sourced stories that have turned out to be false.
  • For The Atlantic, Renee DiResta argues that health experts do not understand how information moves online, which prevents them from effectively filling COVID-19 knowledge gaps and instead feeds into the popularity of unreliable (often misinformative) sources.
  • According to commentators for Slate, the battle faced by authoritative sources to provide accurate information on COVID-19 is complexified by the fast-changing landscape of scientific findings, facts, and uncertainties. This makes accuracy hard to attain due to the novelty of the virus.
  • Google and the Cost of ‘Data Voids’ during a Pandemic: This piece explores the impact of data voids — a lack of relevant information for search terms — which can increase users’ chances of exposure to mis/disinformation.

Tools free to use

Impact of the Infodemic

Public opinion and COVID-19 disinformation, conspiracies, and false cures

The human cost of the Infodemic

Public trust in healthcare professionals