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NSF RAPID: Collaborative Research: COVID-19 Disinformation Disparities

Posted: 5/10/2020 (CSDE Awards and CSDE Research)

Sara Curran, CSDE Director, and Dr. Jessica Beyer (Henry M. Jackson School) with colleagues at Louisiana State University were awarded a collaborative NSF RAPID to examine demographic and social disparities in responses to variably trustworthy information on Twitter. The project compares sentiment and language use patterns among a population of Twitter users, analyzing how these characteristics evolve through the recognition of the emergency, the peak of the crisis, and the mitigation of the pandemic in the U.S. The project will use computational methods to understand sentiment patterns and language use on Twitter and link tweets and relevant entities to corresponding longitudinal data about trustworthy information sources, including news media sources and official emergency guidance, policies, and orders. Using timestamps and derived location, we will associate tweets with daily disease-specific rates and annual demographic and socio-economic information. Data about the surrounding information context, including reporting trends and framing of the crisis, sources of health information, and information-seeking behavior about COVID-19 will provide tools for assessing the validity and reliability of our inferences about the patterns of sentiment and language use.