How Social Media during COVID-19 will inform public health education and outreach

According to a new study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, a machine-learning scan of popular social media sites could help inform public health education and outreach during Covid-19.

The research measured daily shifts in the frequency of discussion topics across 94,467 Reddit* comments relevant to COVID-19 in March, 2020 to test the following hypotheses:

  • An “infodemic,” an overabundance of knowledge and disinformation, has preceded the pandemic.

  • Public reaction is significant, but undermeasured, to the pandemic and infodemic.

  • Real-time public response analysis could contribute to earlier awareness of shifting public expectations, fitness fluctuations, and the implementation of public health interventions, all of which have repercussions for individuals.

WITH 420 million monthly active users, REDDIT is the 19th most popular website in the world.

The research identified topics that fall into three interest groups, monitoring regular differences across all comments in the average prevalence of topics.

  1. Response to legislation aimed at public health
  2. effect on everyday life
  3. Pandemic intensity sense.

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