Americans and Canadians became some of the biggest super-spreaders when it came to COVID-19 misinformation on social media, a study by McGill University uncovered.
According to the findings published in the journal Frontiers in Political Science, Canadians consumed and spread the most COVID-19-related misinformation on social media.
The study showed that many Canadians fell victim to conspiratorial beliefs and questionable medical advice that may have been poorly sourced. These findings were established after analyzing the behaviors of nearly 200,000 Canadian Twitter users and conducting surveys surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
“A lot of Canadians are struggling to understand COVID-19 denialism and anti-vaccination attitudes among their loved ones,” said Aengus Bridgman, the study’s lead author, in a press release.
“Governments wishing to limit the spread of infodemics should consider the ways that social media platforms push out-of-country information to the top of news feeds. This infodemic has the capacity to change important attitudes and behaviours that influence transmission patterns of COVID-19. Ultimately, it can change the scale and lethality of a pandemic,” researchers also stated in the same release.
The study was published online on March 29, 2021.