In addition to being formally defined as a pandemic, COVID-19 has been classified as an “infodemic” and “(mis)infodemic.”As an “infodemic,” the information environment on COVID-19 is constantly evolving, with emerging scientific findings, political responses, media coverage, and individual impressions all shared on social media. Initial positions on behaviors and potential treatments were presented and then discarded because of low efficacy or improper research procedures. Further, there has been a fragmented geopolitical response with differing political systems exhibiting varying approaches to decisionmaking and health outcomes, which has lead to confusion of the public. As a “misinfodemic,” COVID-19 discussions have also attracted actors seeking to share misinformation enabled and exacerbated by social media networks, which include willful distortions as well as conspiracy theories. Combined, this (mis)infodemic can change risk perceptions of travel, resulting in travel patterns based on technological, regulatory, and perceived behavioral homophily.
- social media
- conspiracy theories