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1.
Drug Saf ; 43(8): 699-709, 2020 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1482336

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic that hit the world in 2020 triggered a massive dissemination of information (an "infodemic") about the disease that was channeled through the print, broadcast, web, and social media. This infodemic also included sensational and distorted information about drugs that likely first influenced opinion leaders and people particularly active on social media and then other people, thus affecting choices by individual patients everywhere. In particular, information has spread about some drugs approved for other indications (chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor antagonists, favipiravir, and umifenovir) that could have led to inappropriate and therefore hazardous use. In this article, we analyze the rationale behind the claims for use of these drugs in COVID-19, the communication about their effects on the disease, the consequences of this communication on people's behavior, and the responses of some influential regulatory authorities in an attempt to minimize the actual or potential risks arising from this behavior. Finally, we discuss the role of pharmacovigilance stakeholders in emergency management and possible strategies to deal with other similar crises in the future.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections , Drug Utilization/trends , Information Dissemination , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral , Public Health , Attitude to Health , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/classification , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/psychology , Humans , Information Dissemination/ethics , Information Dissemination/methods , Medication Therapy Management/ethics , Medication Therapy Management/standards , Pharmacovigilance , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/psychology , Public Health/methods , Public Health/standards , SARS-CoV-2 , Social Media/ethics , Social Media/standards , Social Medicine/ethics , Social Medicine/standards
3.
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 7(9): e31052, 2021 09 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1394691

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused great panic among the public, with many people suffering from adverse stress reactions. To control the spread of the pandemic, governments in many countries have imposed lockdown policies. In this unique pandemic context, people can obtain information about pandemic dynamics on the internet. However, searching for health-related information on the internet frequently increases the possibility of individuals being troubled by the information that they find, and consequently, experiencing symptoms of cyberchondria. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to examine the relationships between people's perceived severity of the COVID-19 pandemic and their depression, anxiety, and stress to explore the role of cyberchondria, which, in these relationship mechanisms, is closely related to using the internet. In addition, we also examined the moderating role of lockdown experiences. METHODS: In February 2020, a total of 486 participants were recruited through a web-based platform from areas in China with a large number of infections. We used questionnaires to measure participants' perceived severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, to measure the severity of their cyberchondria, depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms, and to assess their lockdown experiences. Confirmatory factor analysis, exploratory factor analysis, common method bias, descriptive statistical analysis, and correlation analysis were performed, and moderated mediation models were examined. RESULTS: There was a positive association between perceived severity of the COVID-19 pandemic and depression (ß=0.36, t=8.51, P<.001), anxiety (ß=0.41, t=9.84, P<.001), and stress (ß=0.46, t=11.45, P<.001), which were mediated by cyberchondria (ß=0.36, t=8.59, P<.001). The direct effects of perceived severity of the COVID-19 pandemic on anxiety (ß=0.07, t=2.01, P=.045) and stress (ß=0.09, t=2.75, P=.006) and the indirect effects of cyberchondria on depression (ß=0.10, t=2.59, P=.009) and anxiety (ß=0.10, t=2.50, P=.01) were moderated by lockdown experience. CONCLUSIONS: The higher the perceived severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, the more serious individuals' symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. In addition, the associations were partially mediated by cyberchondria. Individuals with higher perceived severity of the COVID-19 pandemic were more likely to develop cyberchondria, which aggravated individuals' depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms. Negative lockdown experiences exacerbated the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on mental health.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/psychology , Perception , Quarantine/psychology , Stress, Psychological/complications , Adolescent , Adult , Anxiety/etiology , Anxiety/psychology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , China/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Depression/etiology , Depression/psychology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Quarantine/standards , Social Media/standards , Social Media/statistics & numerical data , Stress, Psychological/psychology
5.
J Med Internet Res ; 23(6): e29802, 2021 06 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1273314

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In recent years, medical journals have emphasized the increasingly critical role that social media plays in the dissemination of public health information and disease prevention guidelines. However, platforms such as Facebook and Twitter continue to pose unique challenges for clinical health care providers and public health officials alike. In order to effectively communicate during public health emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, it is increasingly critical for health care providers and public health officials to understand how patients gather health-related information on the internet and adjudicate the merits of such information. OBJECTIVE: With that goal in mind, we conducted a survey of 1003 US-based adults to better understand how health consumers have used social media to learn and stay informed about the COVID-19 pandemic, the extent to which they have relied on credible scientific information sources, and how they have gone about fact-checking pandemic-related information. METHODS: A web-based survey was conducted with a sample that was purchased through an industry-leading market research provider. The results were reported with a 95% confidence level and a margin of error of 3. Participants included 1003 US-based adults (aged ≥18 years). Participants were selected via a stratified quota sampling approach to ensure that the sample was representative of the US population. Balanced quotas were determined (by region of the country) for gender, age, race, and ethnicity. RESULTS: The results showed a heavy reliance on social media during the COVID-19 pandemic; more than three-quarters of respondents (762/1003, 76%) reported that they have relied on social media at least "a little," and 59.2% (594/1003) of respondents indicated that they read information about COVID-19 on social media at least once per week. According to the findings, most social media users (638/1003, 63.6%) were unlikely to fact-check what they see on the internet with a health professional, despite the high levels of mistrust in the accuracy of COVID-19-related information on social media. We also found a greater likelihood of undergoing vaccination among those following more credible scientific sources on social media during the pandemic (χ216=50.790; φ=0.258; P<.001). CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest that health professionals will need to be both strategic and proactive when engaging with health consumers on social media if they hope to counteract the deleterious effects of misinformation and disinformation. Effective training, institutional support, and proactive collaboration can help health professionals adapt to the evolving patterns of health information seeking.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/therapy , Information Seeking Behavior/physiology , Social Media/standards , Social Networking , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires , Young Adult
6.
Bull World Health Organ ; 99(6): 455-463A, 2021 Jun 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1256318

ABSTRACT

Objective: To review misinformation related to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on social media during the first phase of the pandemic and to discuss ways of countering misinformation. Methods: We searched PubMed®, Scopus, Embase®, PsycInfo and Google Scholar databases on 5 May 2020 and 1 June 2020 for publications related to COVID-19 and social media which dealt with misinformation and which were primary empirical studies. We followed the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses and the guidelines for using a measurement tool to assess systematic reviews. Evidence quality and the risk of bias of included studies were classified using the grading of recommendations assessment, development and evaluation approach. The review is registered in the international prospective register of systematic reviews (PROSPERO; CRD42020182154). Findings: We identified 22 studies for inclusion in the qualitative synthesis. The proportion of COVID-19 misinformation on social media ranged from 0.2% (413/212 846) to 28.8% (194/673) of posts. Of the 22 studies, 11 did not categorize the type of COVID-19-related misinformation, nine described specific misinformation myths and two reported sarcasm or humour related to COVID-19. Only four studies addressed the possible consequences of COVID-19-related misinformation: all reported that it led to fear or panic. Conclusion: Social media play an increasingly important role in spreading both accurate information and misinformation. The findings of this review may help health-care organizations prepare their responses to subsequent phases in the COVID-19 infodemic and to future infodemics in general.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Social Media/statistics & numerical data , Social Media/standards , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
7.
J Med Internet Res ; 23(6): e27632, 2021 06 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1249625

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Monitoring public confidence and hesitancy is crucial for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Social media listening (infoveillance) can not only monitor public attitudes on COVID-19 vaccines but also assess the dissemination of and public engagement with these opinions. OBJECTIVE: This study aims to assess global hesitancy, confidence, and public engagement toward COVID-19 vaccination. METHODS: We collected posts mentioning the COVID-19 vaccine between June and July 2020 on Twitter from New York (United States), London (United Kingdom), Mumbai (India), and Sao Paulo (Brazil), and Sina Weibo posts from Beijing (China). In total, we manually coded 12,886 posts from the five global metropolises with high COVID-19 burdens, and after assessment, 7032 posts were included in the analysis. We manually double-coded these posts using a coding framework developed according to the World Health Organization's Confidence, Complacency, and Convenience model of vaccine hesitancy, and conducted engagement analysis to investigate public communication about COVID-19 vaccines on social media. RESULTS: Among social media users, 36.4% (571/1568) in New York, 51.3% (738/1440) in London, 67.3% (144/214) in Sao Paulo, 69.8% (726/1040) in Mumbai, and 76.8% (2128/2770) in Beijing indicated that they intended to accept a COVID-19 vaccination. With a high perceived risk of getting COVID-19, more tweeters in New York and London expressed a lack of confidence in vaccine safety, distrust in governments and experts, and widespread misinformation or rumors. Tweeters from Mumbai, Sao Paulo, and Beijing worried more about vaccine production and supply, whereas tweeters from New York and London had more concerns about vaccine distribution and inequity. Negative tweets expressing lack of vaccine confidence and misinformation or rumors had more followers and attracted more public engagement online. CONCLUSIONS: COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy is prevalent worldwide, and negative tweets attract higher engagement on social media. It is urgent to develop an effective vaccine campaign that boosts public confidence and addresses hesitancy for COVID-19 vaccine rollouts.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , Social Media/standards , COVID-19 Vaccines/pharmacology , Humans , Public Opinion , SARS-CoV-2
8.
J Med Internet Res ; 23(6): e29802, 2021 06 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1247769

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In recent years, medical journals have emphasized the increasingly critical role that social media plays in the dissemination of public health information and disease prevention guidelines. However, platforms such as Facebook and Twitter continue to pose unique challenges for clinical health care providers and public health officials alike. In order to effectively communicate during public health emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, it is increasingly critical for health care providers and public health officials to understand how patients gather health-related information on the internet and adjudicate the merits of such information. OBJECTIVE: With that goal in mind, we conducted a survey of 1003 US-based adults to better understand how health consumers have used social media to learn and stay informed about the COVID-19 pandemic, the extent to which they have relied on credible scientific information sources, and how they have gone about fact-checking pandemic-related information. METHODS: A web-based survey was conducted with a sample that was purchased through an industry-leading market research provider. The results were reported with a 95% confidence level and a margin of error of 3. Participants included 1003 US-based adults (aged ≥18 years). Participants were selected via a stratified quota sampling approach to ensure that the sample was representative of the US population. Balanced quotas were determined (by region of the country) for gender, age, race, and ethnicity. RESULTS: The results showed a heavy reliance on social media during the COVID-19 pandemic; more than three-quarters of respondents (762/1003, 76%) reported that they have relied on social media at least "a little," and 59.2% (594/1003) of respondents indicated that they read information about COVID-19 on social media at least once per week. According to the findings, most social media users (638/1003, 63.6%) were unlikely to fact-check what they see on the internet with a health professional, despite the high levels of mistrust in the accuracy of COVID-19-related information on social media. We also found a greater likelihood of undergoing vaccination among those following more credible scientific sources on social media during the pandemic (χ216=50.790; φ=0.258; P<.001). CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest that health professionals will need to be both strategic and proactive when engaging with health consumers on social media if they hope to counteract the deleterious effects of misinformation and disinformation. Effective training, institutional support, and proactive collaboration can help health professionals adapt to the evolving patterns of health information seeking.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/therapy , Information Seeking Behavior/physiology , Social Media/standards , Social Networking , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires , Young Adult
9.
Am J Public Health ; 111(3): 514-519, 2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1200013

ABSTRACT

Amid the COVID-19 global pandemic, a highly troublesome influx of viral misinformation threatens to exacerbate the crisis through its deleterious effects on public health outcomes and health behavior decisions.This "misinfodemic" has ignited a surge of ongoing research aimed at characterizing its content, identifying its sources, and documenting its effects. Noticeably absent as of yet is a cogent strategy to disrupt misinformation.We start with the premise that the diffusion and persistence of COVID-19 misinformation are networked phenomena that require network interventions. To this end, we propose five classes of social network intervention to provide a roadmap of opportunities for disrupting misinformation dynamics during a global health crisis. Collectively, these strategies identify five distinct yet interdependent features of information environments that present viable opportunities for interventions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Communication , Information Dissemination/methods , Social Media/standards , Global Health , Health Communication/standards , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
11.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 117(32): 18902-18905, 2020 08 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-755387
14.
Global Health ; 17(1): 4, 2021 01 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1059850

ABSTRACT

During global pandemics, such as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), crisis communication is indispensable in dispelling fears, uncertainty, and unifying individuals worldwide in a collective fight against health threats. Inadequate crisis communication can bring dire personal and economic consequences. Mounting research shows that seemingly endless newsfeeds related to COVID-19 infection and death rates could considerably increase the risk of mental health problems. Unfortunately, media reports that include infodemics regarding the influence of COVID-19 on mental health may be a source of the adverse psychological effects on individuals. Owing partially to insufficient crisis communication practices, media and news organizations across the globe have played minimal roles in battling COVID-19 infodemics. Common refrains include raging QAnon conspiracies, a false and misleading "Chinese virus" narrative, and the use of disinfectants to "cure" COVID-19. With the potential to deteriorate mental health, infodemics fueled by a kaleidoscopic range of misinformation can be dangerous. Unfortunately, there is a shortage of research on how to improve crisis communication across media and news organization channels. This paper identifies ways that legacy media reports on COVID-19 and how social media-based infodemics can result in mental health concerns. This paper discusses possible crisis communication solutions that media and news organizations can adopt to mitigate the negative influences of COVID-19 related news on mental health. Emphasizing the need for global media entities to forge a fact-based, person-centered, and collaborative response to COVID-19 reporting, this paper encourages media resources to focus on the core issue of how to slow or stop COVID-19 transmission effectively.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Consumer Health Information/methods , Health Communication/methods , Mental Health/statistics & numerical data , Consumer Health Information/standards , Health Communication/standards , Humans , Mass Media/standards , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Social Media/standards
15.
Health Promot Int ; 36(2): 524-534, 2021 Apr 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1033529

ABSTRACT

The emergence of COVID-19, caused by novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, became a pandemic in just 10 weeks. Without effective medications or vaccines available, authorities turned toward mitigation measures such as use of face masks, school's closings, shelter-in-place, telework and social distancing. People found refuge on the internet and social media apps; however, there was a proliferation of instant messaging containing hoaxed, deliberate misleading information: fake news messaging (FNM). The aim of this study was to assess FNM through content analysis and to discriminate them in a proposed taxonomy structure. A sample of convenience of messages, memes, tweets or cartoons in several languages was selected from the most popular social media outlets, i.e. Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter etc. More than 300 FNM were identified. Descriptive statistics were used for highlighting potential relationships between variables. Content analysis determined that FNM could be divided into Health- and non-health-related types. There are several sub-types considering, but not limited to, religious beliefs, politics, economy, nutrition, behaviors, prevention of the infection, the origin of the disease and conspiracy theories. The parallel FNM pandemic affected the response from an already debilitated public health system through the confusion created in the community and the erosion in the credibility of genuine media. Public health practitioners had to face people's unpredictable behaviors, panic, tensions with the communities and, in some cases, a hostile climate toward frontline workers. Public health practitioners must adjust ongoing and future health promotion and education interventions including plans to neutralize fake news messages.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Health Communication/methods , Health Communication/standards , Social Media/standards , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/psychology , Communicable Disease Control/methods , Cross-Sectional Studies , Health Behavior , Humans , Pandemics , Politics , Religion , SARS-CoV-2
16.
Global Health ; 17(1): 4, 2021 01 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1011221

ABSTRACT

During global pandemics, such as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), crisis communication is indispensable in dispelling fears, uncertainty, and unifying individuals worldwide in a collective fight against health threats. Inadequate crisis communication can bring dire personal and economic consequences. Mounting research shows that seemingly endless newsfeeds related to COVID-19 infection and death rates could considerably increase the risk of mental health problems. Unfortunately, media reports that include infodemics regarding the influence of COVID-19 on mental health may be a source of the adverse psychological effects on individuals. Owing partially to insufficient crisis communication practices, media and news organizations across the globe have played minimal roles in battling COVID-19 infodemics. Common refrains include raging QAnon conspiracies, a false and misleading "Chinese virus" narrative, and the use of disinfectants to "cure" COVID-19. With the potential to deteriorate mental health, infodemics fueled by a kaleidoscopic range of misinformation can be dangerous. Unfortunately, there is a shortage of research on how to improve crisis communication across media and news organization channels. This paper identifies ways that legacy media reports on COVID-19 and how social media-based infodemics can result in mental health concerns. This paper discusses possible crisis communication solutions that media and news organizations can adopt to mitigate the negative influences of COVID-19 related news on mental health. Emphasizing the need for global media entities to forge a fact-based, person-centered, and collaborative response to COVID-19 reporting, this paper encourages media resources to focus on the core issue of how to slow or stop COVID-19 transmission effectively.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Consumer Health Information/methods , Health Communication/methods , Mental Health/statistics & numerical data , Consumer Health Information/standards , Health Communication/standards , Humans , Mass Media/standards , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Social Media/standards
17.
Health Educ Behav ; 48(1): 9-13, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-978879

ABSTRACT

Online misinformation regarding COVID-19 has undermined public health efforts to control the novel coronavirus. To date, public health organizations' efforts to counter COVID-19 misinformation have focused on identifying and correcting false information on social media platforms. Citing extant literature in health communication and psychology, we argue that these fact-checking efforts are a necessary, but insufficient, response to health misinformation. First, research suggests that fact-checking has several important limitations and is rarely successful in fully undoing the effects of misinformation exposure. Second, there are many factors driving misinformation sharing and acceptance in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic-such as emotions, distrust, cognitive biases, racism, and xenophobia-and these factors both make individuals more vulnerable to certain types of misinformation and also make them impervious to future correction attempts. We conclude by outlining several additional measures, beyond fact-checking, that may help further mitigate the effects of misinformation in the current pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/psychology , Health Communication/standards , Social Media/standards , Communication , Humans , Pandemics , Public Health , SARS-CoV-2 , Trust
18.
J Med Internet Res ; 22(11): e21329, 2020 11 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-976100

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: A substantial amount of COVID-19-related data is generated by Twitter users every day. Self-reports of COVID-19 symptoms on Twitter can reveal a great deal about the disease and its prevalence in the community. In particular, self-reports can be used as a valuable resource to learn more about common symptoms and whether their order of appearance differs among different groups in the community. These data may be used to develop a COVID-19 risk assessment system that is tailored toward a specific group of people. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to identify the most common symptoms reported by patients with COVID-19, as well as the order of symptom appearance, by examining tweets in Arabic. METHODS: We searched Twitter posts in Arabic for personal reports of COVID-19 symptoms from March 1 to May 27, 2020. We identified 463 Arabic users who had tweeted about testing positive for COVID-19 and extracted the symptoms they associated with the disease. Furthermore, we asked them directly via personal messaging to rank the appearance of the first 3 symptoms they had experienced immediately before (or after) their COVID-19 diagnosis. Finally, we tracked their Twitter timeline to identify additional symptoms that were mentioned within ±5 days from the day of the first tweet on their COVID-19 diagnosis. In total, 270 COVID-19 self-reports were collected, and symptoms were (at least partially) ranked. RESULTS: The collected self-reports contained 893 symptoms from 201 (74%) male and 69 (26%) female Twitter users. The majority (n=270, 82%) of the tracked users were living in Saudi Arabia (n=125, 46%) and Kuwait (n=98, 36%). Furthermore, 13% (n=36) of the collected reports were from asymptomatic individuals. Of the 234 users with symptoms, 66% (n=180) provided a chronological order of appearance for at least 3 symptoms. Fever (n=139, 59%), headache (n=101, 43%), and anosmia (n=91, 39%) were the top 3 symptoms mentioned in the self-reports. Additionally, 28% (n=65) reported that their COVID-19 experience started with a fever, 15% (n=34) with a headache, and 12% (n=28) with anosmia. Of the 110 symptomatic cases from Saudi Arabia, the most common 3 symptoms were fever (n=65, 59%), anosmia (n=46, 42%), and headache (n=42, 38%). CONCLUSIONS: This study identified the most common symptoms of COVID-19 from tweets in Arabic. These symptoms can be further analyzed in clinical settings and may be incorporated into a real-time COVID-19 risk estimator.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Social Media/standards , COVID-19/pathology , Female , Humans , Language , Male , Saudi Arabia
19.
J Med Internet Res ; 22(12): e22609, 2020 12 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-965218

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The massive scale of social media platforms requires an automatic solution for detecting hate speech. These automatic solutions will help reduce the need for manual analysis of content. Most previous literature has cast the hate speech detection problem as a supervised text classification task using classical machine learning methods or, more recently, deep learning methods. However, work investigating this problem in Arabic cyberspace is still limited compared to the published work on English text. OBJECTIVE: This study aims to identify hate speech related to the COVID-19 pandemic posted by Twitter users in the Arab region and to discover the main issues discussed in tweets containing hate speech. METHODS: We used the ArCOV-19 dataset, an ongoing collection of Arabic tweets related to COVID-19, starting from January 27, 2020. Tweets were analyzed for hate speech using a pretrained convolutional neural network (CNN) model; each tweet was given a score between 0 and 1, with 1 being the most hateful text. We also used nonnegative matrix factorization to discover the main issues and topics discussed in hate tweets. RESULTS: The analysis of hate speech in Twitter data in the Arab region identified that the number of non-hate tweets greatly exceeded the number of hate tweets, where the percentage of hate tweets among COVID-19 related tweets was 3.2% (11,743/547,554). The analysis also revealed that the majority of hate tweets (8385/11,743, 71.4%) contained a low level of hate based on the score provided by the CNN. This study identified Saudi Arabia as the Arab country from which the most COVID-19 hate tweets originated during the pandemic. Furthermore, we showed that the largest number of hate tweets appeared during the time period of March 1-30, 2020, representing 51.9% of all hate tweets (6095/11,743). Contrary to what was anticipated, in the Arab region, it was found that the spread of COVID-19-related hate speech on Twitter was weakly related with the dissemination of the pandemic based on the Pearson correlation coefficient (r=0.1982, P=.50). The study also identified the commonly discussed topics in hate tweets during the pandemic. Analysis of the 7 extracted topics showed that 6 of the 7 identified topics were related to hate speech against China and Iran. Arab users also discussed topics related to political conflicts in the Arab region during the COVID-19 pandemic. CONCLUSIONS: The COVID-19 pandemic poses serious public health challenges to nations worldwide. During the COVID-19 pandemic, frequent use of social media can contribute to the spread of hate speech. Hate speech on the web can have a negative impact on society, and hate speech may have a direct correlation with real hate crimes, which increases the threat associated with being targeted by hate speech and abusive language. This study is the first to analyze hate speech in the context of Arabic COVID-19-related tweets in the Arab region.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Deep Learning/standards , Hate , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Social Media/standards , Speech/physiology , Humans , Pandemics , Research Design , Saudi Arabia
20.
J Med Internet Res ; 22(11): e20656, 2020 11 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-934396

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The outbreak of COVID-19 began in 2019 and is expected to impact the psychological health of college students. Few studies have investigated the associations among health risk communication, social media, and psychological symptoms during a major pandemic. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this research was to assess the prevalence of psychological symptoms among college students and explore their associations with health risk communication and social media. METHODS: A web-based survey was distributed through the Wenjuanxing platform among Chinese college students from March 3-15, 2020. In addition to demographics, information on health risk communication and social media was collected, and the Symptom Checklist 90 Phobia and Health Anxiety Inventory subscale was used to assess psychological symptoms among 1676 college students in China. Multivariable logistic regression was performed to examine these independent risk factors. RESULTS: The prevalence of panic and health anxiety was 17.2% (288/1676) and 24.3% (408/1676), respectively. Regarding risk communication, understanding the risk of COVID-19 (odds ratio [OR] 0.480, 95% CI 0.367-0.627) was a protective factor against panic. Knowledge of prognosis (OR 0.708, 95% CI 0.551-0.910), preventive measures (OR 0.380, 95% CI 0.195-0.742), and wearing face masks (OR 0.445, 95% CI 0.230-0.862) were shown to be protective factors in predicting health anxiety. Perceived lethality (OR 1.860, 95% CI 1.408-2.459), being affected by the global spread (OR 1.936, 95% CI 1.405-2.669), and impact on social contacts (OR 1.420, 95% CI 1.118-1.802) were identified as significant risk factors associated with health anxiety. In terms of social media, trust in mainstream media (OR 0.613, 95% CI 0.461-0.816) was considered to be a protective factor against health anxiety. CONCLUSIONS: There was a high prevalence of psychological symptoms among college students. Health risk communication and social media use were important in predicting psychological symptoms, especially health anxiety. Scientific and evidence-based information should be reported by social media platforms. Web-based consultation and intervention measures should be the focus of future studies.


Subject(s)
Anxiety/epidemiology , COVID-19/psychology , Health Communication/methods , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Social Media/standards , Students/psychology , Adult , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Young Adult
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