Amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and ensuing lockdowns, people isolated in their homes for months on end are increasingly turning to social media to source news and maintain connections. However, experts warn that the platforms are also increasingly being used to share health-related misinformation.
A new Artificial Intelligence (AI) tool has been tested by a team of scientists from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in an effort to crack down on health-related misinformation online.
Tasked with identifying COVID-19 related conspiracy theories on social media spawned amid the ongoing pandemic, the machine learning tool can also predict how the schemes evolved over time, according to the study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research on 14 April.
Titled “Thought I’d Share First” and Other Conspiracy Theory Tweets from the COVID-19 Infodemic: Exploratory Study, the research seeks to help public health officials combat the onslaught of misinformation and offer protection to vulnerable social media users.
Four Main Unproven COVID-Related Theories
The study gathered and analysed anonymised Twitter data to come up with four predominant coronavirus conspiracy theory themes.
The first one warned that 5G cell towers spread the respiratory virus.