Bridging the Gap: Commonality and Differences between Online and Offline COVID-19 Data

by   Nayoung Kim, et al.

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, news outlets and social media have become central tools for disseminating and consuming information. Because of their ease of access, users seek COVID-19-related information from online social media (i.e., online news) and news outlets (i.e., offline news). Online and offline news are often connected, sharing common topics while each has unique, different topics. A gap between these two news sources can lead to misinformation propagation. For instance, according to the Guardian, most COVID-19 misinformation comes from users on social media. Without fact-checking social media news, misinformation can lead to health threats. In this paper, we focus on the novel problem of bridging the gap between online and offline data by monitoring their common and distinct topics generated over time. We employ Twitter (online) and local news (offline) data for a time span of two years. Using online matrix factorization, we analyze and study online and offline COVID-19-related data differences and commonalities. We design experiments to show how online and offline data are linked together and what trends they follow.


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