The one with the rumour: COVID-19-related conversations on Pakistani Twitter.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a massive crisis exacerbated by the spread of misinformation on social media. Twitter is a highly popular microblogging platform in Pakistan, and the large population there lacks digital literacy, making them vulnerable to various forms of online and digital propaganda. This study aims to analyse the content of COVID-19-related tweets from Pakistan. The current study is a content analysis of COVID-19-related tweets in Pakistani Twitter during the early stages of the pandemic, with a particular emphasis on misinformation, political content, health-related content, risk framing, and rumours. The Twitter data were obtained and anonymised by a third party for this study. The selected tweets were manually coded, and the following thematic tweet categories were identified: Science, Data, Pseudoscience, Healthcare, Conspiracies, Policies and Politics, Humour, and Pandemic life. Results indicated that the Policies and Politics category contained the majority of tweets (46.3%). Most science-based tweets focussed on nonpharmaceutical interventions (68.8%). As anticipated, the categories of Pseudoscience and Conspiracies were found to contain the most misinformation. Additionally, the number of likes and retweets for different tweet categories were compared, and no significant differences were found.
Date: 10 Nov 2023
DOI: 10.1016/j.puhe.2023.10.007
Journal: Public health
Pubmed ID: 37952344
ML/Curated Information
Viruses: SARS-CoV-2
Article Type(s): Research
Topics: Misinformation