COVID-19-related Social Media Fake News in India
17 Pages Posted: 7 Jul 2020 Last revised: 27 Aug 2020
Date Written: June 30, 2020
This study analyzes N=125 Indian social media fake news related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It produces five major findings based on five research questions. First, the seven themes of fake news are health, religiopolitical, political, crime, entertainment, religious, and miscellaneous. Health-related fake news (67.2%) dominates the others. Second, the seven types of fake news contents are text, photo, audio and video, text & photo, text & video, and text & photo & video. More fake news takes the forms of text & video (47.2%). Third, online media produces more fake news (94.4%) than mainstream media (5.6%). Interestingly, four social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Youtube, produce most of the social media fake news. Fourth, relatively more fake news has international connections (54.4%) as the COVID-19 pandemic is a global phenomenon. Fifth, most of the COVID-19-related fake news is negative (63.2%). The paper concludes stating some limitations and implications of the findings.
Keywords: Fake news; social media; COVID-19; public health; India
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