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Student Research Guide WQ24/ Covid-19 Misinformation on Twitter

Student Research Guide for Library 201/ Keely Harmon

What is this Guide for?


COVID-19 Misinformation on Twitter


 This is a student created research guide for English 102 & Library 201 Learning community

This guide will discuss how misinformation spreads rapidly on Twitter.

The research thesis of this guide is to reflect on how Twitter has become a massive platform for misinformation regarding important topics, particularly COVID-19. We will explore what changes could be made to prevent the spread of misinformation.

The research questions addressed in this guide are:

  1. When was Twitter founded and why?
  2. What are the impacts of false information on Twitter?
  3. Who is responsible for spreading disinformation?
  4. How can Twitter prevent misinformation?



 The popular social media site Twitter has millions of users every day, many of whom are looking for information on what's happening in the world. Posts are liked and reshared rapidly and users are exposed to lots of information at once. The COVID-19 pandemic began to open people's eyes to how quickly false information spreads and the harm it causes. This misinformation is prevalent on Twitter and the people who own the site haven't done enough to solve the issue. The site's CEO, Elon Musk has perpetuated it by spreading disinformation, which is defined as false claims that are deliberately spread to mislead. The question asked in this guide is; how can Twitter prevent misinformation from spreading? Using library databases with scholarly, peer-reviewed information brought me the knowledge I needed for this guide. Many sources have been published about this topic so it was easy to find information quickly. These sources agree that Twitter has a problem. The site needs to amplify accurate information more than it does right now to expose users to truthful, honest posts about not just the pandemic, but other medical issues and important topics. Hopefully, readers will learn to think critically about the information they see before sharing it. Twitter should do more as well to ensure their site isn't a space for disinformation and taking advantage of naive users. Is there a way to prevent misinformation completely, or is health and media literacy the key to ensuring people don't spread false information unknowingly?

Background Information

In 2006, the now beloved site known as Twitter (now X) was founded by Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams. Intended to be a simple SMS (short messaging service), it has exploded into a cultural phenomenon. With over 200 million users logging on daily, there's bound to be even more posts, known as "tweets" shared each and every second.


With such a large platform, there are bound to be people with bad intentions using the site. Particularly, people using the site to share conspiracies with unsuspecting and sometimes naive users who retweet things they think are important or agree with, often without using any fact-checking methods. 


At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, health officials began to take notice of how much misinformation began spreading about the disease and the associated vaccine. People claim vaccines can cause all kinds of physical harm, and even that COVID isn't real at all. The worst part? Lots of these people have massive platforms, some of them are even in the political sphere. This type of misinformation is concerning, and although Twitter has made attempts to combat it, they haven't been 100% effective. More needs to be done to ensure the site is a place for accurate information.

Video, Graph, or Image


The video below is a great starting point for anyone looking to research Twitter. It's short and easy to comprehend and gives the viewer an understanding of how Twitter was founded and the people who created it nearly 20 years ago.

Source citation:

YouTube. (2018, June 28). History of twitter. YouTube.



All Content CC-BY.