Due to the global epidemic spreading in 2020, it is of utmost importance to contribute to the debate on the emergency providing data and evidences that could help to understand how the virus is changing our life.

To support the reflection on the issue, T6 Ecosystems, partner of the SOMA Observatory[1] and funding member of the Aletheia Centre of Excellence[2], has set up a study. The study intends to analyse, understand and reflect on the impacts of the current emergency on how people get informed. In particular, it intends to investigate if and how people changed behavior in relation to reliable and unreliable sources of information.

To find some evidence, a qualitative analysis has been applied. The qualitative analysis has been conducted through the administration of a questionnaire. The survey has been launched on 31 March 31 and closed on 16 April and disseminated in Italian for an Italian audience. 1611 responses were collected. On the total of respondents, 63% are women and 37% are men. Looking at the geographical distribution, 40% of the participants are from the South of Italy and the islands, 33% from the Centre of Italy and 27% from the North of Italy. In terms of age, replies have been collected throught all ages, from minors of 18 years old to more than 80 old. Most of the respondents are between 36 and 65 years old. We asked to select the education degree, most of the respondents selected the following options: master degree and high school.

Results show that people are informing themselves on the pandemic above all using official channels used by authoritative institutions as well as through broadcasters. Social media, even if appearing among the used channel to be informed, are not the primary source of information on the epidemic. Results confirm that the most reliable source of information identified by the participants are the institutional sources of information and the information shared by the scientific community. The survey also asked if the current emergency has changed how respondents deal with information. Half of the respondents asserted that the emergency changed their relationship with the information to state  that the Covid 19 led them to be more aware about the importance of verified information.

Full report with final results is available here both in Italian and in English.

[1] SOMA (Social Observatory for Disinformation and Social Media Analysis) has been launched to provide support to a European community to jointly fight disinformation, This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 825469.

[2] The ALETHEIA Centre of Excellence has been held in 2019 on the premises of the Luiss University as a joint effort of two SOMA partners: Luiss Data Lab and T6 Ecosystems. The mission, under the wider umbrella of the SOMA Observatory, is to create an Italian centre of excellence to promote research and knowledge exchange on issues related to information, professional correctness, the fight against misinformation and forced polarization in the media, on and offline.