1st Edition

Miscommunicating the COVID-19 Pandemic An Asian Perspective

    250 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book tackles the infodemic—the rapid, widespread diffusion of false, misleading, or inaccurate information about the disease and its ramifications—triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. With a focus on four Asian societies, the book compares and analyzes the spread of COVID-19 misinformation and its broad impacts on the public in Beijing, Hong Kong, Taipei, and Singapore.

    Providing both a comprehensive overview of the phenomenon of misinformation and cross-societal analyses of patterns, the book features in-depth analyses of the prevalence of COVID-19 misinformation and engagement and explores its consequences in an Asian context. The book sheds lights on these key questions:

    • What types of infodemic messages circulate widely on popular social media platforms?
    • What factors account for exposure to and engagement with debunked yet popular COVID-19 misinformation?
    • How does exposure to widely circulated COVID-19 misinformation affect people’s beliefs, attitudes, and adoption of preventive measures to cope with the pandemic?
    • How do macro social differences condition the diffusion and impacts of COVID-19 misinformation?
    • What intervention strategies can counter the misinformation?

    Presenting scientific insights and empirical findings on the pressing issues about infodemic, this book will be of great interest to students and researchers of communication studies, political science, public health, crisis communication, and Asian Studies, as well as policymakers and practitioners who wish to acquire cutting-edge, evidence-based knowledge about combating misinformation during a global pandemic.

    List of contributors


    1. Introduction

    Ran Wei

    2. The Emergence of COVID-19 Misinformation: Conception and Message Characteristics

    Hai Liang, Ran Wei, and Anfan Chen

    3. Diffusion of Misinformation: Topological Characteristics and User Vulnerability

    Sibo Wang and Hai Liang

    4. Exposure to Misinformation: Patterns and Predictors

    Guanxiong Huang and Wenting Yu

    5. Sharing Misinformation: Facilitating the Spread

    Ven-Hwei Lo, Ran Wei, and Sai Wang

    6. Consequences of Exposure to Misinformation: Negative Emotions and Biased Risk Perception

    Ven-Hwei Lo, Grace Xiao Zhang, and Miao Lu

    7. The Antivax Phenomenon: Trust and Misinformation

    Yi-Hui Christine Huang and Jun Li

    8. The Cognitive Outcomes of Misinformation: Misbeliefs and Knowledge

    Ran Wei and Jing Guo

    9. Swamped: Misinformation and Information Overload

    Ran Wei, Wenting Yu, and Jing Guo

    10. Fighting Back: Citizen Actions to Combat Misinformation

    Dong Dong, Grace Xiao Zhang, and Yan Zeng

    11. Modeling the Dynamic Process and Adverse Effects of Misinformation

    Ven-Hwei Lo and Ran Wei

    12. An Asian Perspective on Combating Misinformation: What Have We Learned?

    Ran Wei



    Ran Wei is Chair Professor in the School of Communication of Hong Kong Baptist University, a retired Professor of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the University of South Carolina, USA.

    Chapter Lead Authors

    Dong Dong is Assistant Professor in the Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Her research interests include health communication, science and technology studies, health equity, and social justice.

    Guanxiong Huang is Associate Professor in the Department of Media and Communication at City University of Hong Kong. Her research interests include health communication, media psychology, and persuasive technologies.

    Yi-Hui Christine Huang is a Chair Professor in the Department of Media and Communication and the Associate Dean of College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at City University of Hong Kong. Her research interests include strategic communication and risk communication.

    Hai Liang is Associate Professor in the School of Journalism and Communication at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. His research interests include computational social science, political communication, and public health.

    Ven-hwei Lo is Visiting Professor in the Department of Journalism at the Hong Kong Baptist University. His research expertise falls into two streams: effects of mass media and journalism studies.

    Sibo Wang is Assistant Professor in the Department of Systems Engineering and Engineering Management at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. His research focuses on database and data mining.

    This timely book offers a sobering reflection on the disruptions that the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked on our information landscape. Governments in Asia faced significant uphill battles in securing public trust in lockdowns, quarantine measures, vaccinations and treatments. Given the high level of connectivity among most Asian populations, misinformation and disinformation spread even more swiftly than the disease. Nevertheless, many Asian countries were able to mount effective and creative campaigns to allay public concerns and disseminate accurate information. The lessons learnt from this dark period will illuminate and aid societal responses to future challenges. This book performs the invaluable role of capturing those critical learning points. 

    Professor Sun Sun Lim, Vice President, Partnerships and Engagement at the Singapore Management University, Singapore

    Team-authored Miscommunicating the COVID-19 Pandemic in Asia is a vital new book that examines the diffusion and impact of COVID-19 misinformation in Asia’s leading cities. Misinformation has become a global pandemic itself in the 21st century, and understanding its nature and impact is essential. Led by the distinguished scholar, Ran Wei, a team of international scholars including Ven-Hwei Lo, Yi-Hui Christine Huang, Dong Dong, Hai Liang, Guanxiong Huang, and Sibo Wang has collaborated to provide a vital new work of ground-breaking scholarship. Supported by a grant from the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Regin, China, this book is comprehensive in scope and delivers empirical findings to illuminate the types of infodemic messages that circulate on social media platforms, the factors that account for exposure to and engagement with COVID-19 misinformation, and how exposure to COVID-19 misinformation influences the public’s beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. This theoretically and methodologically powerful book is a must-read for all students, scholars and policymakers concerned about COVID-19 misinformation in Asia’s leading cities.

    Professor John V. Pavlik, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, USA

    The global nature of the COVID pandemic provided a valuable opportunity for the cross-national analyses provided in this volume and the lessons they provide. Above all, we need reliable ways to connect the public to credible information, a need that transcends national system.

    Stephen D. Reese, Jesse H. Jones Professor of Journalism and Media, University of Texas at Austin, USA