False news around COVID-19 circulated less on Sina Weibo than on Twitter. How to overcome false information?





false information, social media, COVID-19, evidence-based news


Since the Coronavirus health emergency was declared, many are the fake news that have circulated around this topic, including rumours, conspiracy theories and myths. According to the World Economic Forum, fake news is one of the threats in today's societies, since this type of information circulates fast and is often inaccurate and misleading. Moreover, fake-news are far more shared than evidence-based news among social media users and thus, this can potentially lead to decisions that do not consider the individual’s best interest. Drawing from this evidence, the present study aims at comparing the type of Tweets and Sina Weibo posts regarding COVID-19 that contain either false or scientific veracious information. To that end 1923 messages from each social media were retrieved, classified and compared. Results show that there is more false news published and shared on Twitter than in Sina Weibo, at the same time science-based evidence is more shared on Twitter than in Weibo but less than false news. This stresses the need to find effective practices to limit the circulation of false information.

Author Biographies

Cristina Pulido Rodríguez, Universitat Autònoma de Barcleona

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Beatriz Villarejo Carballido, University of Deusto

University of Deusto

Gisela Redondo-Sama, University of Deusto

University of Deusto

Mengna Guo, University of Barcelona

University of Barcelona

Mimar Ramis, University of Barcelona

University of Barcelona

Ramon Flecha, University of Barcelona

University of Barcelona


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How to Cite

Pulido Rodríguez, C., Villarejo Carballido, B., Redondo-Sama, G., Guo, M., Ramis, M., & Flecha, R. (2020). False news around COVID-19 circulated less on Sina Weibo than on Twitter. How to overcome false information?. International and Multidisciplinary Journal of Social Sciences, 9(2), 107–128. https://doi.org/10.17583/rimcis.2020.5386