Covid-19 Corona emotions dashboard CSH



Live tracker for Austrian emotions


A dashboard, developed by CSH scientists, tracks the emotions expressed on Austrian online platforms in times of Covid-19 pandemic.


Unprecedented measures have been taken all over the world in the fight against the corona pandemic. Curfews, travel and contact bans are restricting people’s lives, unemployment is rising and costs are exploding. Nobody can estimate how long the state of emergency will last and how the situation will develop in the individual countries, but also worldwide.

What feelings does this extreme situation generate? Are people desperate and anxious, or are they dealing with it calmly and positively? Do they support the government measures? Are there points at which a change of mood becomes apparent?

It is of great importance for politicians, but also for example for psychosocial services, to know about changes in the mood and well-being of the people in the country.

For this purpose scientists Jana Lasser, Hannah Metzler, Max Pellert and David Garcia from the Complexity Science Hub Vienna have developed a live tracker for emotions.



The Austria Social Media Emotions Dashboard continuously records expressions that are assigned to different emotions: Expressions of anger, fear and worry, sadness and positive emotions. In addition, it records words that express a prosocial attitude (empathy, helpfulness, support, etc.), as well as terms that describe social interactions and relationships in the broadest sense (friends, parents, brother, entertainment, educator, care, etc.).

The Hub researchers obtain a sufficiently large amount of data from three platforms:

  • from Twitter
  • from the online forum of the daily newspaper “Der Standard”
  • from a platform mainly used by young people between 18 and 28

The scientists compare how often the terms are mentioned on the individual platforms with the average value from last year (2019).

“We see that people express anxiety and concern significantly more often on all three platforms approximately since the first Covid-19 cases occurred on February 26,” says Hannah Metzler, an expert on social interaction and emotions. “A bit later on Twitter, they also talk about things like cohesion, support and empathy much more often, so they’re starting to show a prosocial attitude.”

More on that here.

Since the first measures were implemented, the values for anger on Twitter and in the standard forum have been remarkably low. “This could mean that people understand the measures,” says Metzler.

At the same time, however, expressions of sadness on both platforms have increased with the measures, which could be related to reduced social contacts.


In the Standard Forum, worries and anxiety have increased significantly since February, with a peak around the imposition of the first government measures. Since then, parallel to the expressions of anger, they have decreased significantly.

“In contrast to Twitter, prosocial and social expressions have declined on the Standard Forum since media reports about Covid-19 have been piling up,” says Hannah Metzler. “This could have to do with the fact that people on Twitter talk more about their lives and want to reach other people, whereas in the Standard Forum discussions are held on very specific topics”.


2020 04 16 Emotions Standard Forum
Emotion tracking in the user forum of Der Standard © CSH Vienna / MedUni Vienna


Data from an app used by 18- to 28-years olds show an increase in fear and anxiety at the beginning of the crisis and around the time of the implementation of the measures, but have since returned to average values. “Due to the too small amount of data, no clear trends can be identified for the other emotions,” Hannah points out.

2020 04 16 Emotions Youngsters



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