r/Coronavirus and the Viral Pandemic: A source of truth, comfort and companionship during COVID19

Jennifer Cole, Cas van de Ven, Curtis Matt Sharkey, Phillip Williamson, Patrick Doherty, Freya Robb

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Citation (Scopus)


The COVID19 pandemic has unfolded alongside a concurrent ‘infodemic’ – defined by the World Health Organization as an overabundance of information, some accurate, some not, that occurs during an epidemic. Key to managing this is not only identifying, countering and debunking misinformation but also providing unbiased and factually correct information and signposting people towards it. However, during COVID19, the ‘truth’ has not always been clear. It has not always been easy to prepare public health messaging that is consistent, easily understood or practical for everyone to apply. This presents unique challenges, to which social media platforms need to be part of the solution. One such solution can be found on www.reddit.com where, in January 2020, a group of research scientists, students, academics and medics came together to create and moderate forums in which the pandemic can be discussed and questions about it answered. These forums provide case studies of how information can be generated, misinformation corrected and disinformation debunked on subreddits with, combined, more than 3 million subscribers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExtended Abstracts of the 2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI EA 2021
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
ISBN (Electronic)9781450380959
Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2021
Event2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems: Making Waves, Combining Strengths, CHI EA 2021 - Virtual, Online, Japan
Duration: 8 May 202113 May 2021

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings


Conference2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems: Making Waves, Combining Strengths, CHI EA 2021
CityVirtual, Online


  • Infodemic
  • misinformation
  • Public health messaging

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