Both good and bad information has been inundated on Twitter since the outbreak of the corona virus began. Many such posts were also shared through this platform which was far from the truth. The UK Department of Health and Welfare published its first tweet about the new coronavirus testing system on January 25, 2020. Less than a week later, the department tweeted about two people who tested positive for COVID- 19 in the UK. After that, a series began which continues to this day.
The Birmingham City University professor did the study
The impact of these tweets has been studied in depth by Robert Lawson, associate professor of sociology at Birmingham City University in London. He wrote in The Conversation that as the coronavirus spread millions more tweets were added to those initial tweets as people reacted to rumors of foreclosures, panic buying and heartbreaking stories from the whole world. Time has passed and tweets about masks, R numbers and mass immunity have been inundated with tweets of misinformation and conspiracy theories. Gradually, tweets began to be circulated around the world pending the arrival of the vaccine and the return to normal.
This tweet is a huge historical document
Taken together, these tweets are one vast historical document – a modern Samuel Pepps diary – that chronicles how life changed during the pandemic. But with millions of tweets scrutinized, deciphering them all requires careful archiving. My colleagues and I archived them, creating a publicly accessible database of tweets related to the pandemic that anyone can access. We hope this collection will help researchers and the public understand what has changed since the first weeks of 2020.
People said earlier that the crown was pneumonia
Twitter has already been used regularly as a research tool. One particularly interesting study showed that an increase in the use of words like pneumonia on Twitter in January 2020 pointed to early signs of the spread of COVID-19 in Europe. In other work, researchers have examined how world leaders took to Twitter during the pandemic, and others created datasets to find out how the public followed their COVID-19 policies. Another data set from the University of Southern California contains 1.23 million tweets, including English, French, Thai, Indonesian and more.
Twitter is also full of misinformation
Next is the study of misinformation on Twitter, which has been a major concern since the start of the pandemic. A study found that outright bogus claims spread faster than tweets with partially bogus claims. Another study found that unverified personal Twitter accounts had the highest rates of COVID-19 disinformation, and tweets containing disinformation were more likely to use hashtags like # nCoV2019 than # COVID19.
Corona was told a biological weapon
Misinformation has also given rise to conspiracy theories. Investigations reveal that they claim the virus was developed as a biological weapon, that the vaccination program is part of a mass surveillance program, and that even the entire pandemic is a hoax.
The work of social media companies has also increased
These findings have helped social media companies ban repeat offenders, remove tweets with misinformation, employ more fact-checkers, and add disclaimers to disputed information. All of these studies are useful in encouraging platforms to reach public opinion and weed out disinformation, but most of their datasets are not publicly available and you need specialized skills to access and analyze them.
University created visual online coronavirus dashboard
To overcome this obstacle, our team at Birmingham City University developed Trust and Communication: Coronavirus Online Visual Dashboard (TRAC: COVID). This is a collection of over 840 million English tweets that contain words and hashtags related to the pandemic. This currently covers UK tweets from January 2020 to April 2021, and will be increased as we get more data.