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Effects of misinformation diffusion during a pandemic

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The role of misinformation diffusion during a pandemic is crucial. An aspect that requires particular attention in the analysis of misinfodemics is the rationale of the source of false information, in particular how the behavior of agents spreading misinformation through traditional communication outlets and social networks can influence the diffusion of the disease. We studied the process of false information transmission by malicious agents, in the context of a disease pandemic based on data for the COVID-19 emergency in Italy. We model communication of misinformation based on a negative trust relation, supported by findings in the literature that relate the endorsement of conspiracy theories with low trust level towards institutions. We provide an agent-based simulation and consider the effects of a misinfodemic on policies related to lockdown strategies, isolation, protection and distancing measures, and overall negative impact on society during a pandemic. Our analysis shows that there is a clear impact by misinfodemics in aggravating the results of a current pandemic.

KEYWORDS  Misinformation, Misinfodemics, Multi-Agent Systems

Prandi, L., Primiero, G. Effects of misinformation diffusion during a pandemic. Appl Netw Sci 5, 82 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41109-020-00327-6 (Open Access)

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