Ahmed W, Önkal D, Das R, Krishnan S, Olan F, Hardey M & Fenton A (2023) Developing Techniques to Support Technological Solutions to Disinformation by Analysing Four Conspiracy Networks During COVID-19. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management.
Given the role of technology and social media during the COVID-19 pandemic, the aim of this paper is to conduct a social network analysis of four COVID-19 conspiracy theories that were spread during the pandemic between March to June 2020. Specifically, the paper examines the 5G, Film Your Hospital, Expose Bill Gates, and the Plandemic conspiracy theories. Identifying disinformation campaigns on social media and studying their tactics and composition is an essential step toward counteracting such campaigns. The current study draws upon data from the Twitter Search API and uses social network analysis to examine patterns of disinformation that may be shared across social networks with sabotaging ramifications. The findings are used to generate the Framework of Disinformation Seeding and Information Diffusion for understanding disinformation and the ideological nature of conspiracy networks that can support and inform future pandemic preparedness and counteracting disinformation. Furthermore, a Digital Mindfulness Toolbox (DigiAware) is developed to support individuals and organisations with their information management and decision-making both in times of crisis and as strategic tools for potential crisis preparation.
COVID-19; Disinformation; Fake news; Twitter; Data Analytics; Mindfulness
Output Status: Forthcoming
IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management