Comparison of public discussions of gene editing on social media between the United States and China

Comparison of public discussions of gene editing on social media between the United States and China
J Ji, M Robbins, JD Featherstone, C Calabrese… –
PloS ONE,  Published: May 2, 2022, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0267406
Abstract
The world’s first gene-edited babies event has stirred controversy on social media over the use of gene editing technology. Understanding public discussions about this controversy will provide important insights about opinions of science and facilitate informed policy decisions. This study compares public discussion topics about gene editing on Twitter and Weibo, as well as the evolution of these topics over four months. Latent Dirichlet allocation (LDA) was used to generate topics for 11,244 Weibo posts and 57,525 tweets from September 25, 2018, to January 25, 2019. Results showed a difference between the topics on Twitter versus Weibo: there were more nuanced discussions on Twitter, and the discussed topics between platforms focused on different areas. Temporal analysis showed that most discussions took place around gene-edited events. Based on our findings, suggestions were provided for policymakers and science communication practitioners to develop more effective communication strategies toward audiences in China and the U.S.

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