r/Coronavirus and the Viral Pandemic: A source of truth, comfort and companionship during COVID19

Jennifer Cole, Cas van de Ven, C. Matthew Sharkey, Phil Williamson, Patrick Doherty, Freya Robb

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The COVID19 pandemic has unfolded alongside a concurrent ‘infodemic’ – defined by the World Health Organization as an overabundance of information, some accurate, some not, that occurs during an epidemic. Key to managing this is not only identifying, countering and debunking misinformation but also providing unbiased and factually correct information and signposting people towards it. However, during COVID19, the ‘truth’ has not always been clear. It has not always been easy to prepare public health messaging that is consistent, easily understood or practical for everyone to apply. This presents unique challenges, to which social media platforms need to be part of the solution. One such solution can be found on www.reddit.com where, in January 2020, a group of research scientists, students, academics and medics came together to create and moderate forums in which the pandemic can be discussed and questions about it answered. These forums provide case studies of how information can be generated, misinformation corrected and disinformation debunked on subreddits with, combined, more than 3 million subscribers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI EA '21: Extended Abstracts of the 2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
EditorsYoshifumi Kitamura, Aaron Quigley, Katherine Isbister, Takeo Igarashi
Place of PublicationNY, USA
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-8095-9
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2021
EventCHI '21: CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Yokohama Japan May, 2021 - Yokohama, Japan, Yokohama, Japan
Duration: 8 May 202114 May 2021


ConferenceCHI '21: CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Yokohama Japan May, 2021
Internet address


  • Human Computer Interaction
  • Collaborative and Social Computing
  • Infodemic Management
  • Public health messaging
  • misinformation
  • Collective Intelligence

Cite this