What Twitter Can Tell Us About Ebola

The Ebola virus is spreading and mutating, and so is the chatter about it on social media. Luminoso, an MIT Media Lab spinoff that helps companies monitor consumer sentiment, has been tracking tweets about Ebola. Luminoso’s software reveals trends –- some worrisome –- that show how online conversations may be shaping public opinion.

Between August 31 and October 15, 2014, Twitter users posted 5.4 million tweets that mentioned Ebola. That’s fewer than tweets referring to another widely covered, but localized, news event, the shooting of an unarmed black man by police in Ferguson, Mo; the hashtag #ferguson appeared in 7.8 million tweets in the nine days after… (read more)