Analyzing YouTube Videos Shared on Whatsapp in the Early COVID-19 Crisis
Whatsapp is the most popular messaging app in the world. It is not only used as a one-to-one messaging app but also as a platform for group discussion. Recently, Whatsapp has gained the spotlight for its role in disseminating (often low-quality) information. Our study focuses on YouTube videos shared by political-oriented public groups on Whatsapp for a month during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through a careful analysis of the topical distribution and the lexicon present in the videos shared, we shed light on the COVID-19 debate happening in these groups. Moreover, we compare COVID-19 related videos with other political videos being shared in the groups. We observe that videos that discuss political themes have more emotional attributes as well as topics related to typical right-wing concerns such as family, work, and religion than videos discussing both pandemic and politics.