The cautionary case of @realdonaldtrump and COVID-19

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Professor Agustín Fuentes, along with Jeffrey V. Peterson, published a peer-reviewed article in PLOS ONE, “Social media and public perception as core aspect of public health: The cautionary case of @realdonaldtrump and COVID-19.”

Abstract

The social media milieu in which we are enmeshed has substantive impacts on our beliefs and perceptions. Recent work has established that this can play a role in influencing understanding of, and reactions to, public health information. Twitter, in particular, appears to play a substantive role in the public health information ecosystem. From July 25th, 2020 to November 15th, 2020, we collected weekly tweets related to COVID19 keywords and assessed their networks, patterns and properties. Our analyses revealed the dominance of a handful of individual accounts as central structuring agents in the networks of tens of thousands of tweets and retweets, and thus millions of views, related to specific COVID19 keywords. These few individual accounts and the content of their tweets, mentions, and retweets are substantially overrepresented in terms of public exposure to, and thus interaction with, critical elements of public health information in the pandemic. Here we report on one particularly striking aspect of our dataset: the prominent position of @realdonaldtrump in Twitter networks related to four key terms of the COVID19 pandemic in 2020.

Read full article here.

Acknowledgments:

Hilcia Acevedo '23
Mary Devellis '21
Doruntina Fida '21
Jennifer Lee '23
Alexandra Marino '22
Kevin Ramos '21