Information Quality of Reddit Link Posts on Health News

  • Haichen Zhou
  • Bei YuEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 12051)


Inaccuracy has been a common problem in news coverage of scientific research. This problem has been particularly prevalent in health research news. Health research news usually spreads from research publications and press releases to news and social media. In this study we examined the information quality of the Reddit link posts that introduce health news stories. We developed a coding schema to annotate the inaccurate information in a sample of 250 link posts on health research news within the Reddit community r/Health in 2018. The result shows that most link posts simply copied the original news headlines verbatim, while some paraphrased the news stories by adding, deleting, replacing, and combining content. We found that 12 paraphrased link posts contained inaccurate information that may mislead the readers. The most common type of inaccuracy is exaggeration resulted from changing the original speculative claims to direct causal statements by removing the modal verbs such as “may” and “might”. The result shows that although the link posts of health news were generally faithful to the original news stories, exaggerated claims may lead to false hope for researchers and patients.


Reddit Health news Paraphrasing Information quality 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.Syracuse UniversitySyracuseUSA

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