ISSN 1000-1239 CN 11-1777/TP

Journal of Computer Research and Development ›› 2021, Vol. 58 ›› Issue (7): 1366-1384.doi: 10.7544/issn1000-1239.2021.20200818

Special Issue: 2021虚假信息检测专题

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Quantitative Analysis on the Communication of COVID-19 Related Social Media Rumors

Chen Huimin1, Jin Sichen2, Lin Wei1, Zhu Zeyu1, Tong Lingbo2,4, Liu Yipeng2, Ye Yining2, Jiang Weihan3, Liu Zhiyuan2, Sun Maosong2, Jin Jianbin1   

  1. 1(School of Journalism and Communication, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084);2(Department of Computer Science and Technology, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084);3(School of Software, Beihang University, Beijing 100191);4(Department of Psychology, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana, USA 46556)
  • Online:2021-07-01
  • Supported by: 
    This work was supported by the National Social Science Foundation of China (13&ZD190).

Abstract: The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic is accompanied by numerous rumors spreading on the social media platform, which seriously affects the stability of society and the safety of public. Existing quantitative analyses of COVID-19 related social media rumors only focus on single element of communication, such as content, while ignoring other basic elements of communication, including communicator, audience, and effect. Besides, compared with the real social media rumor data, the rumor data of these studies have distribution bias and lack of information. Therefore, we conduct a more comprehensive quantitative analysis on the communication of COVID-19 related social media rumors based on the Sina Weibo platform. Specifically, we first analyze the communication content of rumors, including the analysis of the topic, involved regions, event tendency and sentiment. Further, we investigate the users engaged in rumor communication and divide the users into three categories, namely, rumor posters, rumor spreaders, and rumor informers. We explore the basic attributes, topic preferences, individual sentiments, and self-network characteristics of the engaged users. Finally, we study the public opinion triggered by rumors, including the overall sentiment distribution, its correlation with topics, keywords and regions, as well as the evolution of sentiment. To conclude, this study first quantitatively analyzes COVID-19 related social media rumors from the perspective of different basic elements in communication. It provides a more comprehensive and profound understanding of COVID-19 related social media rumors and is of great value for both research and management of rumor in public emergencies.

Key words: COVID-19, social media, rumor communication, communication structure, quantitative analysis

CLC Number: