Information and misinformation on the Coronavirus in Portugal

This report analyses the way Portuguese citizens reacted to the Coronavirus/Covid-19 between 12 and 15 March 2020 through social networks and online searches, but it contextualises that information with data analysed since February.

It deals with the sharing of messages with misinformation about the Coronavirus/Covid-19 on WhatsApp, with the aim of identifying those messages, their level of virality and their truth or misinformation. It also takes a first look at new groups set up on Facebook to share information on the virus/disease, in order to identify community action in Portugal.

Facebook and Twitter posts by the main Portuguese media are also examined, together with the interactions they generate and movements of communities coming together on Facebook around the subject of Coronavirus/Covid-19. The online activity of the Portuguese concerning the subject is complemented with an analysis of Google searches that attempts to identify the major concerns for the Portuguese in the face of the pandemic.

This report is a development and extension of the report published at the beginning of March, on the coverage of the subject of “Coronavirus” in Google searches, online news and social networks. That report analysed the existing data until just before the first cases appeared in Portugal. The present report collects and analyses data from the last 30 days, until 14 March, i.e. already including reactions to those first cases, as well as measures to contain the pandemic, announced by the government on 11 March.