The Morbid Realities of Social Media: An Investigation into the Narratives Shared by the Deceased Victims of COVID-19
Keywords:Qualitative and quantitative studies of social media, Analysis of the relationship between social media and mainstream media, Centrality/influence of social media publications and authors, Credibility of online content
AbstractSocial media platforms have had considerable impact on the real world especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. Problematic narratives related to Covid-19 might have caused significant impact on the population specifically due to its association with dangerous beliefs such as anti-vaccination and Covid denial. In this work, we study a unique dataset of Facebook posts by users who shared and believed in such narratives before succumbing to Covid-19 often resulting in death. We aim to characterize the dominant themes and sources present in the victim's posts along with identifying the role of the platform in handling deadly narratives. Our analysis reveals the overwhelming politicization of Covid-19 through the prevalence of anti-government themes propagated by right-wing political and media ecosystem. Furthermore, we highlight the efforts of Facebook's implementation of soft moderation actions intended to warn users of misinformation. Results from this study bring insights into the responsibility of political elites in shaping public discourse and the platform's role in dampening the reach of harmful narratives.
How to Cite
Habib, H., & Nithyanand, R. (2023). The Morbid Realities of Social Media: An Investigation into the Narratives Shared by the Deceased Victims of COVID-19. Proceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media, 17(1), 303-314. https://doi.org/10.1609/icwsm.v17i1.22147