COVID-19 - Coronavirus disease 2019

Tracking trust and suspicion: Analysis of social media to assist public health responses to Covid-19 – TRACTRUST (Tracking Trust)

Submission summary

How to promote acceptance, uptake, and adherence to public health measures for COVID-19 prevention and control? What are the most effective ways to address the underlying drivers of fear, anxieties, rumours, stigma regarding, and how to improve public knowledge, awareness, and trust during the response? This project provides an innovative approach to help fill these information gaps and assist both public health measures and refining media and communications efforts.
This project will focus on issues of trust and its relationship with political authority. It will use a comprehensive approach drawing insights from anthropology (dynamics of blame and heroization), political sociology (how political authority is built and challenged), science studies (foundations of scientific authority and dynamics of controversies) and digital social science (uses of social media by lay public and activists). ASpecial attention will be devoted to the plurality of voices on both scientific and policy issues and public reactions to contradictory information. Computational social science (network analysis, computational linguistics) will be combined with a qualitative approach grounded in the anthropology of the web.
The project will be divided into three modules. The first module will explore accusatory dynamics associated with COVID-19 by analysing the main figures of blame and heroes present in Twitter conversations in French.. The second will examine the links between digital and traditional media both in France and in Francophone sub-Saharan Africa by studying conversations linked to news coverage of the epidemic, including comments posted in response to online articles, conversations posted on online forums, and sites and blogs directly linked from these comments. The third module will focus on two particularly crucial scientific issues for COVID-19: the limits of "open science" in times of epidemics and the link between the use of scientific knowledge by governments and assessment of their “democratic” nature. Its digital-qualitative (mixed method) approach will track circulation of scientific data, publications and visualizations on social media, while undertaking exploratory interviews of scientific actors (virologists and epidemiologists) in the first months of the epidemic regarding data sharing, transparency, and constraints on political actors (health policies and COVID-19 response).
Results from this research will lead first and foremost to fundamental research and result in scientific publications in the best international journals. It will also, during the pandemic, directly inform policymaking via two of the core participants of this project. Laetitia Atlani-Duault (PI) and Daniel Benamouzig are members of the Conseil Scientifique COVID19 chaired by Prof. Delfraissy and appointed by the Minister of Health to give scientific opinion on a wide variety of matters pertaining to the coronavirus pandemic.

Project coordination

Laetitia Atlani-Duault (Centre population et développement)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


CEPED Centre population et développement

Help of the ANR 195,008 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: - 18 Months

Useful links

Explorez notre base de projets financés



ANR makes available its datasets on funded projects, click here to find more.

Sign up for the latest news:
Subscribe to our newsletter