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POLICY BRIEF #36: COVID-19 information on Social Media in Europe: A threat or a blessing?

This publication appears in: SMIT policy briefs

Authors: M. Komorowski, I. Picone, T. Do, N. Deligiannis and G. Bekoulis

Volume: 36

Number of Pages: 4

Publication Date: Jun. 2020


Abstract:

Europe has been facing unprecedented challenges from COVIDᆧ. Providing citizens with accurate, timely and frequent information about the health risks posed by COVIDᆧ, as well as measures they can take to protect themselves, is key to mitigating the spread of the virus. Social media can, in this context, become an essential tool as it allows us to reach and engage a large number of people.But, social media can also be misused to spread misinformation. This policy brief critically questions what potential role social media play in informing Europe’s population about the COVIDᆧ pandemic. Using more than 50,000 tweets, we analyse who has an impact on the discussions surrounding COVIDᆧ on social media in Europe. With this study, we seek to contribute to the debate on the problems, but also the benefits of social media for the spread of information.

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