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Group advocating early treatment for Covid-19 explores state of science in social networks, shows unprecedented study by FGV

Group advocating early treatment for Covid-19 explores state of science in social networks, shows unprecedented study by FGV

An unprecedented study by the Getulio Vargas Foundation’s Department of Public Policy Analysis (FGV DAPP) revealed that links with scientific claims in a group advocating early treatment have a median lifespan of 1.5 times longer than other groups on social networks.

Links circulating on this topic have a lifespan of 100 hours in three of the four groups identified by the survey. The exception occurs precisely in the rejection group, when the duration rises to 250 hours.

The (Pseudo) study Science and the Public Domain: Scientific Claims About Covid-19 on Twitter also indicated that of the ten links that stayed on the networks homepage for the longest, the rejection group identified the controversial URLs.

They are anonymous sites and frequent targets of fact-checking and have been invalidated by the scientific community. For example, the lead-for-life URL was one of these checkpoints by Brazilian agencies on early treatment of Covid-19 and circulated for 159 days, in other words, more than five months, on Twitter.

In addition, the group advocating early treatment is the most isolated among those identified. In 44% of the links, 90% of the posts were within the same group, showing that these URLs leave little to no group, which, despite providing most of the debate interactions, includes only 21.5% of profiles.

In the discussion about Covid-19 on Twitter, early treatment was the most frequently used topic in scientific discourse in May and June 2021.

In the disapproval group, there is a predominance of highly partisan sites that present themselves as conservative media – such as the URLs revistaoeste.com and tercalivre.com.br. In this sense, the group also mobilizes links that elicit voices from foreign authorities to lend credibility and “scientific” impact to early treatment. Throughout the pandemic, this group has published texts and reports in support of the federal government and is demanding a minimum level of involvement from the state.

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Another group that also draws attention due to the presence of partisan websites is the group that brings together news channels from the left, whose identity is marked by progressive ideals and defenders of democracy – especially diariodocentrodomundo.com.br and https: // www. brasil247.com.

Twitter posts claiming scientific standing were analyzed to provide credible arguments for messages about Covid-19, including adherence to or criticism of preventive measures, the application or non-use of vaccines and the degree of virus risk, among others. The 3.3 million posts that make up the research group were published between January and May 2021.

The research was developed by FGV DAPP within the scope of the Digital Democracy Project, with the support of the German Embassy in Brasilia. Running until 2022, the project has experience in applied research on social networks and experience in analyzing the public debate on the FGV DAPP.