What types of COVID-19 conspiracies are populated by Twitter bots?

  • Emilio Ferrara Information Sciences Institute, University of Southern California
Keywords: social media, bots, coronavirus, covid-19, conspiracies

Abstract

With people moving out of physical public spaces due to containment measures to tackle the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, online platforms become even more prominent tools to understand social discussion. Studying social media can be informative to assess how we are collectively coping with this unprecedented global crisis. However, social media platforms are also populated by bots, automated accounts that can amplify certain topics of discussion at the expense of others. In this paper, we study 43.3M English tweets about COVID-19 and provide early evidence of the use of bots to promote political conspiracies in the United States, in stark contrast with humans who focus on public health concerns.

Published
2020-05-19
How to Cite
Ferrara, E. (2020). What types of COVID-19 conspiracies are populated by Twitter bots?. First Monday, 25(6). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v25i6.10633