It’s likely that many Americans are spending much more time scrolling through their social media feeds due to the widespread coronavirus-related closures and ‘social distancing’ recommendations happening across the country.
And, according to a recent CivicScience survey of more than 2,000 Americans (ages 13+), it’s also likely that those folks will come across false information about the virus while they’re on social media.
Nearly two-thirds of social media users said they had seen false information about coronavirus on their social media feeds. In fact, only 15% of social media users responded that they had not stumbled upon any misinformation.
While Baby Boomers (ages 55+) are less likely to be on social media overall, the Baby Boomers who do use social media were also less likely than other age groups to report that the content they’re seeing is misinformation. This is of particular interest because coronavirus infections can reportedly be more serious in older patients.
Another area of concern? People who say they turn to social media first to get breaking news updates (about 16% of the general population) were far more likely than others to say that they’ve come across misinformation on their feeds.
Instagram and Twitter users were the specific user groups most likely to report seeing misinformation, but reports were generally widespread across social media platforms:
It seems social media platforms’ policies regarding misleading content — many of which have come under scrutiny in recent months — will certainly be put to the test as the coronavirus outbreak continues to grip the nation.