Home / Health / Most of the misinformation about COVID-19 is spread online by bots in Facebook groups, study finds.

Most of the misinformation about COVID-19 is spread online by bots in Facebook groups, study finds.



Bots are the main driver behind the spread of false COVID-19 information online, a new study suggests.

Researchers look at link sharing. related to the pandemic in more than 300,000 posts, mostly about mask use. made in facebook group

They use the duration of the links shared in these groups to measure the activity of the bots. Frequent sharing or posting multiple posts of the same link in a group just seconds apart. It’s a sign of bot activity.

The team, led by the University of California, San Diego, in collaboration with researchers at George Washington University and Johns Hopkins University, is asking Facebook and other social media giants to “do this.”

; tighten the restrictions But not all public health experts agree that platforms should ‘censor’ misinformation.

Many assumptions about COVID-19 At the beginning of the pandemic which was once classified as “Misinformation” is being investigated again, such as the origin of the virus and theories that it may have come from a lab in Wuhan.

Researchers have found misinformation about most COVID-19 masks and vaccines.  It is published by bot accounts on social media.

Researchers have found misinformation about most COVID-19 masks and vaccines. It is published by bot accounts on social media.

Dr. John Ayers, research team leader Scientists specializing in public health surveillance at the University of California, San Diego, said: “The coronavirus pandemic has sparked what the World Health Organization calls “a devastating disease”. “Information” of misinformation

‘But bots… have been overlooked as misrepresentation of COVID-19’

One link the researchers explored was a study in Denmark that found inconclusive data on whether wearing a mask reduces the spread of COVID-19.

The study was misinterpreted. And it is used as a source of misrepresentation by many people on social media, especially Facebook.

The researchers found that this post was often shared by multiple accounts to different groups several times over a span of seconds. This is a sign that the account sharing the post is a bot running on the same network.

Nearly 40 percent of the times a post was shared on Facebook, it was posted in a group the researchers flagged as having a lot of bot activity.

One in five of those posts lied about the results of the study. It said the researchers said the mask was harmful to the wearer. which is a conclusion that did not appear in the research

A post of a study in a Facebook group that detected bot activity. 2.3 times more likely to share false claims that masks harm the wearer

Brian Chu, co-author of the study and a medical student, said: “Bots appear to be undermining important public health institutions.”

‘In our case study Bots print outstanding publications from reputable medical journals to spread misinformation.’

‘This shows that no content is safe from the dangers of armed false information.’

Researchers call on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (pictured) and other key figures to  The tech industry has taken a stronger stance against public health misinformation.  Not all members of the research field agree, though.

Researchers call on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (pictured) and other key figures to The tech industry has taken a stronger stance against public health misinformation. Not all members of the research field agree, though.

Researchers asked Facebook and other social media giants to Added restrictions on the spread of false information.

They believe that companies like Facebook can easily detect and censor the false information generated by bots. Because they themselves can detect disinformation and groups that use bots themselves.

Researchers also fear that bots may be manipulating the algorithms used by these companies. Because so many of these stories are shared by bots, the algorithm might think it’s more popular than it is. and promote them in the user feed.

Dr. David Broniatowski Deputy Director of the Information Institute Democracy and Politics, said GW and co-author of the study. “Our work shows that social media platforms are capable of detecting and therefore removing these coordinated bot campaigns.”

‘Attempts to eradicate fraudulent bots from social media platforms must become a priority among legislators. regulators and social media companies which focuses on targeting false personal information from ordinary users’

Some researchers disagree, however.

Kamran Abbasi, editor-in-chief of The BMJ, one of the oldest medical journals in England. Write in the comments that social media platforms censoring these stories can be dangerous.

‘It looks like 2020 is Orwell’s 1984, where the realm of public discourse is controlled by multibillion-dollar corporations. (replacing authoritarian regimes) and secret algorithms encrypted by unidentified employees,’ Abbas wrote in reference to Facebook that may censor or label stories about Danish education is ‘misinformation’

‘Facebook’s responsibility for lies and misinformation Where are the damaging effects that have spread on controversial topics such as mental health and suicide, ethnic minorities and vaccines?

‘ Facebook in particular claims to provide freedom of speech on its platform. but acting in selection There seems to be no logic, consistency, or transparency.

‘That’s how controlling facts and opinions promote hidden agendas and manage the public.’

Misinformation about Covid-19 has spread around the world as fast as the virus.

last week Popular feminist writer Naomi Wolf has been suspended by Twitter. After a series of posts spread misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Naomi Wolfe has created controversy over the past few months.  Due to multiple posts spreading misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine.  Feminist writers were suspended on Twitter last week.

Naomi Wolfe has created controversy over the past few months. Due to multiple posts spreading misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine. Feminist writers were suspended on Twitter last week.

Recent claims she has made on Twitter include saying that vaccines are software platforms that can accept uploads. and sewage from vaccinated persons can harm drinking water supplies. Both claim that there is no scientific support.

Facebook, Instagram and other platforms It has also added a feature to combat misinformation about vaccines. by linking information about vaccines to any post It’s automatically posted about vaccines.

Facebook has said they will delete some of the posts claiming they are baseless about vaccines.

The study will be published in the journal American Medicine Monday.


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