Study indicates India and U.S. were breeding grounds for the dissemination of COVID-19 misinformation

During the COVID-19 pandemic, India became the most prominent breeding ground for the dissemination of misinformation pertaining to the disease, according to a study released by one expert at the University of Alberta.

Md. Sayeed Al-Zaman of the University of Alberta examined nearly 10,000 bits of misinformation originating from over 100 countries.

An organization known as Florida’s Poynter Institute for Media Studies had gathered the data as part of its efforts to study and prevent the dissemination of misinformation across the world, with 94 organizations having fact-checked the data.

Based on the examination of the study, published in IFLA Journal, researchers determined that the nation of India was regarded as having the highest prevalence of misinformation in comparison to the rest, with a 16 percent total rate. False stories included unusual attributes to the coronavirus once it invades the body and the irrational use of lemon juice as a home remedy for eliminating COVID-19.

The United States, Brazil, and Spain followed as the second, third, and fourth largest nations of disseminators of COVID-19 misinformation.

“The results show that India (15.94%), the USA (9.74%), Brazil (8.57%) and Spain (8.03%) are the four most misinformation-affected countries,” the study’s author explained in his findings.

“Based on the results, it is presumed that the prevalence of COVID-19 misinformation can have a positive association with the COVID-19 situation,” the author also explained.

Among the channels of communications, social networking sites produced the largest amount of misinformation, with the Internet responsible for the vast majority of false information regarding COVID-19. Facebook outperformed other social platforms on the production of the most misinformation.

The findings indicate a considerable problem with the spread of COVID-19 misinformation among Indian populants, one that also implicates other nations.

“Of all the countries, India produced the largest amount of social media misinformation, perhaps thanks to the country’s higher Internet penetration rate, increasing social media consumption and users’ lack of Internet literacy,” the results of the study concluded.