Moral Emotions Shape the Virality of COVID-19 Misinformation on Social Media

by   Kirill Solovev, et al.

While false rumors pose a threat to the successful overcoming of the COVID-19 pandemic, an understanding of how rumors diffuse in online social networks is - even for non-crisis situations - still in its infancy. Here we analyze a large sample consisting of COVID-19 rumor cascades from Twitter that have been fact-checked by third-party organizations. The data comprises N=10,610 rumor cascades that have been retweeted more than 24 million times. We investigate whether COVID-19 misinformation spreads more viral than the truth and whether the differences in the diffusion of true vs. false rumors can be explained by the moral emotions they carry. We observe that, on average, COVID-19 misinformation is more likely to go viral than truthful information. However, the veracity effect is moderated by moral emotions: false rumors are more viral than the truth if the source tweets embed a high number of other-condemning emotion words, whereas a higher number of self-conscious emotion words is linked to a less viral spread. The effects are pronounced both for health misinformation and false political rumors. These findings offer insights into how true vs. false rumors spread and highlight the importance of considering emotions from the moral emotion families in social media content.


page 1

page 2

page 3

page 4


Psychometric Analysis and Coupling of Emotions Between State Bulletins and Twitter in India during COVID-19 Infodemic

COVID-19 infodemic has been spreading faster than the pandemic itself wi...

A study on information disorders on social networks during the Chilean social outbreak and COVID-19 pandemic

Information disorders on social media can have a significant impact on c...

Detecting False Rumors from Retweet Dynamics on Social Media

False rumors are known to have detrimental effects on society. To preven...

Weak ties strengthen anger contagion in social media

Increasing evidence suggests that, similar to face-to-face communication...

Not cool, calm or collected: Using emotional language to detect COVID-19 misinformation

COVID-19 misinformation on social media platforms such as twitter is a t...

How People Respond to the COVID-19 Pandemic on Twitter: A Comparative Analysis of Emotional Expressions from US and India

The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed millions of lives worldwide and elicit...

The Role of Emotions in Propagating Brands in Social Networks

A key aspect of word of mouth marketing are emotions. Emotions in texts ...

Please sign up or login with your details

Forgot password? Click here to reset