Lai, C., Toriumi, F. & Yoshida,
M. A cross-lingual analysis on the spread of misinformation using the case of Ivermectin as a treatment for Covid-19.
Sci Rep13, 14686 (2023).
The spread of misinformation transgresses international boundaries, between languages and cultures. This is especially evident in times of global crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic. This study observes misinformation on Twitter in the Japanese and English languages regarding false claims that the drug Ivermectin is an effective treatment for Covid-19. Our exploratory cross-lingual analysis identifies key themes of discussion and influential users in both languages, finding English misinformation to be highly popular amongst Japanese users. Significantly, an analysis of the timing of retweets between languages reveals that Japanese users find and widely share English misinformation often before English users themselves. This contradicts expectations that users from other languages tend to pick up on popular misinformation in English. Instead, they seek out English language sources irrespective of their popularity to support their agenda. These results emphasise the importance of cross-lingual mitigation strategies for organizations trying to combat misinformation, and that they must look beyond their own language spheres.