Italian top actors during the COVID-19 infodemic on Twitter
by Paola Zola; Guglielmo Cola; Antonio Martella; Maurizio Tesconi
International Journal of Web Based Communities (IJWBC), Vol. 18, No. 2, 2022

Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a corresponding infodemic, emphasised by the use of social media as the primary communication channel during lockdowns. This study was aimed at finding the accounts that spread information in Italian on COVID-19, and how such information was propagated in the first Western country to face a lockdown. The presented analysis shows that, besides authoritative news media and institutional accounts, a relevant role was played by actors from the 'civil society', which included a popular virologist as well as a far-right activist and an unfamiliar account supporting anti-government and anti-immigration ideas. Quite surprisingly, this latter account achieved the highest number of retweets despite a relatively low number of followers. Also, it showed information propagation paths similar to health experts and institutions.

Online publication date: Mon, 08-Aug-2022

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