A team of French experts at Sony Computer Science Laboratories conducted a study on why disinformation thrived during the global coronavirus pandemic
Their findings appeared in Nature Human Behavior.
“Misinformation threatens our societies, but little is known about how the production of news by unreliable sources relates to supply and demand dynamics,” the study reads.
“We exploit the burst of news production triggered by the COVID-19 outbreak through an Italian database partially annotated for questionable sources. We compare news supply with news demand, as captured by Google Trends data,” it also states.
“We identify the Granger causal relationships between supply and demand for the most searched keywords, quantifying the inertial behaviour of the news supply.”
The French research team found that questionable sources are more sensitive to people’s interests than general news production.
“Studying the general news system and comparing it with the subset of news produced by sources labelled as questionable, we found that ‘coronavirus’-related News from Questionable Sources production seems more reactive and precise than News from All Sources in addressing people’s news demand,” according to the findings.
The findings are beneficial in informing campaigns driven towards combating disinformation and supplying news organizations with relevant strategies.