A recent survey assessed American’s acceptance of 11 false COVID-19 claims circulating online. What were the results? Take our 7-question quiz to find out.
Researchers from Northeastern University, Harvard University, Rutgers University, and Northwestern University teamed up back in March to launch the 50-state COVID-19 project, a series of surveys to examine the US population's attitudes and behaviors regarding COVID-19. The group recently conducted the ninth wave of their online survey from August 7-26, 2020 among 21 196 US adults to assess the respondents' acceptance of 11 false claims that have circulated online since the pandemic started. Take the 7-question quiz below to find out key results.
The false claims asked about were:
Question 1. Which of the above false claims was associated with the highest level of belief among respondents?
Answer: C. COVID-19 was created as a weapon in a Chinese laboratory. The highest level of belief was associated with the claim that COVID-19 originated as a weapon in a Chinese laboratory (22%) and the lowest level of belief was associated with the false claim that the flu vaccine increases the risk of contracting COVID-19 (7%).
Question 2. True or false? The highest level of belief for all 11 false claims was among respondents aged <25 years.
Answer: A. True. For all 11 false claims, respondents aged <25 years had an 18% probability of believing a false claim. The corresponding percentages for those aged 25-44, 45-64, and ≥65 years were 17%, 12%, and 9%, respectively.
Question 3. The highest generational gap among respondents who believed a false claim was accurate, emerged for which of the above false claims?
Answer: C. Humans originally got COVID-19 by eating bats. The highest generational gap among respondents was for the false claim that humans originally got COVID-19 by eating bats, which was believed by 28% of those aged <25 years vs 6% of those aged ≥65 years.
Question 4. Which one of the above racial groups had the highest average level of belief in the 11 false claims?
Answer: D. Black. Black respondents had the highest average level of belief in the 11 false claims (17%), followed by Hispanic Americans (16%), with white and Asian Americans both at 13%. Also, for most of the false claims (7/11), black respondents were at least as likely as or more likely than any other group to believe the claim.
Question 5. True or false? There was no strong association found between the use of mobile instant messaging (MIM) apps (eg, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger) to obtain COVID-19 news and believing misinformation.
Answer: B. False. The survey showed a strong association between the use of MIM apps and believing misinformation, with WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger standing out. For example, 8% of respondents reported getting COVID-19 news from Facebook Messenger in the 24 hours before taking the survey. On average, those respondents identified as accurate 26% of the false claims they were shown. For those who got news from WhatsApp (4%), the average likelihood of believing a false claim was 31%.
Question 6. Users of which of the above social media platforms for COVID-19 news had the highest average level of belief in the 11 false claims?
Answer: B. Snapchat. Among users of Snapchat who had gotten any news about COVID-19 in the 24 hours prior to taking the survey, 28% believed a false claim, followed by 23% of Instagram users, 20% of Twitter users, and 16% of Facebook users.
Question 7. Which of the above states had the lowest average level of belief in the 11 false claims?
Answer: E. B and C. Vermont and Hawaii tied for the lowest average level of believing a false claim (9% each), followed by Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Idaho, Connecticut, Wyoming, and Delaware (11% each). At the other end of the spectrum, the District of Columbia had the highest average level of belief in false claims (22%).