Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Gina Longo


Online misinformation has become a growing concern during the COVID-19 pandemic. Previous studies addressing online misinformation describe how social media facilitates the spread of misinformation. Little research is conducted that details the actors on social media that combat misinformation. This study addresses this gap by examining content that was removed by moderators and comparing it to content that was well received within the same virtual community. This paper aims to investigate how misinformation is combatted in a specific Reddit community dedicated to COVID-19 (r/Coronavirus) by exploring the actions of volunteer moderators and users. Content that is deemed as misinformation by the moderators of the subreddit /r/Coronavirus has been scraped for analysis. The top 1000 posts from the subreddit have been scraped for comparison to illuminate the role of volunteer moderators as “gatekeepers” of acceptable content within an online community. Patterns of political bias are the focus of analysis due to the politicization of misinformation. This research conducts a content analysis of the top 1000 posts and posts that have been removed by moderators, along with their stated justifications, in order to identify trends in their decisions.


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Available for download on Tuesday, May 11, 2027