New Reuters Factsheet: Toxic Conversations on Twitter during the Covid-19 pandemic

In this RISJ Factsheet, we assess the volume and patterns of toxic conversations on social media during the Covid-19 pandemic. We specifically analyse worldwide conversations on Twitter targeting the World Health Organization (WHO), a central actor during the pandemic.

Download here the factsheet to read all the results.

Toxic messages amount to 21% of the overall conversation touching on the Covid-19 pandemic and the role of the WHO in the crisis. In other words, 21 out of 100 tweets in our sample are expected to convey a rude, disrespectful, or unreasonable comment. The percentage of toxic tweets increases after 26 March (25%), when many countries were facing the growing adverse effects of the pandemic and passing measures to confine their populations.

Our analysis contributes to the current research on the health of online debates amid the increasing role of social media as a critical entrance to information and mediator of public opinion building. The research team working on this study includes Professor Rasmus K. Nielsen, Dr Joan Verdú, Nandan Rao, Dr Manlio de Domenico and Dr Omiros Papaspiliopoulos.