Covid-19-related misinformation on social media: a systematic review
Methods - We searched PubMed®, Scopus, Embase®, PsycInfo and Google Scholar databases on 5 May 2020 and 1 June 2020 for publications related to COVID-19 and social media which dealt with misinformation and which were primary empirical studies. We followed the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses and the guidelines for using a measurement tool to assess systematic reviews. Evidence quality and the risk of bias of included studies were classified using the grading of recommendations assessment, development and evaluation approach. The review is registered in the international prospective register of systematic reviews (PROSPERO; CRD42020182154).
Findings - We identified 22 studies for inclusion in the qualitative synthesis. The proportion of COVID-19 misinformation on social media ranged from 0.2% (413/212 846) to 28.8% (194/673) of posts. Of the 22 studies, 11 did not categorize the type of COVID-19-related misinformation, nine described specific misinformation myths and two reported sarcasm or humour related to COVID-19. Only four studies addressed the possible consequences of COVID-19-related misinformation: all reported that it led to fear or panic.
Conclusion Social media play an increasingly important role in spreading both accurate information and misinformation. The findings of this review may help health-care organizations prepare their responses to subsequent phases in the COVID–19 infodemic and to future infodemics in general.