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Informatics Research Seminar: Comparative Analysis of Real vs Fake Health-related Information on Social Media- A Case Study of 2016 Zika Epidemic in Cyberspace

October 17, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT

Speaker: Shi Chen, PhD
Presented from UNC-C

Broadcast Link: Seminar  (There is content, click play button on the bottom left)


The wide spread of health misinformation could have serious consequences on how general public interpret and respond to real information, particularly during disease outbreaks. By choosing 2016 Zika epidemic as the research context, this study aims to understand how real and misinformation about Zika disseminate on Twitter and how their information dissemination dynamics differ from each other. Dynamic information dissemination networks for top retweeted real and misinformation about 2016 Zika epidemic were constructed and analyzed. The findings showed that real information about Zika went through significantly fewer layers of dissemination compared to misinformation about Zika. The dissemination networks of real information about Zika were more easily divided into subnetworks than those of misinformation. In addition, the dissemination of misinformation about Zika involved fewer opinion leaders than that of real ones about Zika. Opinion leaders also played a more critical role in the dissemination of real information about Zika, such that removing them from the networks was more detrimental to the spread of real information than to that of misinformation about Zika.


Dr. Shi Chen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of North Carolina Charlotte. His research interests include analysis and modeling health-related discussion (especially infectious disease epidemics) on social media (especially Twitter); modeling socioeconomic and environmental interactions on mosquito population and vector-borne diseases; and modeling pathogen transferring dynamics in healthcare facilities. His research has been published in Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) Public Health and Surveillance, Mathematical Medicine and Biology, Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, Scientific Reports, and International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.




October 17, 2018
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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