Social Media; its role in the infodemic of COVID-19
Keywords:Covid-19, social media, infodemic, Pakistan, Pandemic
Introduction: A pandemic is defined as an outbreak of a disease that occurs over a wide geographic area and affects an exceptionally high proportion of the global population.
Objective: This study aims to observe the discrepancies that social media provides users in terms of information regarding COVID-19 and how that information can affect practices for prevention against the virus.
Methods: A cross-sectional study, with a non-probability convenience sampling technique, was conducted during April 2020. An online survey was created on Google Forms in the English language, and participants were invited to complete and submit the form. A total of 402 responses were received in one month. Citizens of age 18-60 partook in the study, and respondents tested positive for Covid-19 were excluded from the study as it could lead to bias.
Results: A total of 375 responses were selected out of the 402 responses received. Six responses were excluded who tested positive for Covid-19, and 21 responses were rejected as they were filled incompletely. The mean age of respondents was 27.53 years (S.D 8.188), and there were more females, 52.53% (n=197) than male, 46.67%(175) participants. A Pearson correlation (r) of 0.383 between knowledge and practices of people who use social media as their primary source of information suggests a moderate linear correlation. People who did not use social media as their primary source of information had a stronger linear correlation (r=0.640) between knowledge and practices.
Conclusion: According to the study, social media provided people with correct knowledge as well as encouraged efficient practices while also contributing to the spread of false news and malpractices.
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