Coronavirus News and Information on YouTube: A Content Analysis of Popular Search Terms
17 April 2020
Social media is reshaping how people access information about the coronavirus crisis. The online video-sharing website YouTube has emerged as a major purveyor of health and wellbeing information. In this memo, we examine the nature and structural properties of a sample of 320 YouTube videos related to the coronavirus outbreak. We find that:
four-fifths of the channels sharing coronavirus news and information are maintained by professional news outlets and that the channels of public health agencies are rarely, if ever, returned with search results;
searches for popular coronavirus-related terms return mostly factual and neutral video results, with low volumes of conspiratorial or junk science video results;
highly politicized health news and information receives on average more public engagement in the form of comments than any other type of videos.
Nahema Marchal, Hubert Au & Philip N. Howard. “Coronavirus News and Information on YouTube: A Content Analysis of Popular Search Terms.” Data Memo 2020.3. Oxford, UK: Project on Computational Propaganda. comprop.oii.ox.ac.uk