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Social media platforms are an important source of COVID information for migrant populations and ethnic minorities

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New research to be presented at this year’s European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID 2022, Lisbon, April 23-26) reviews 21 studies from six countries on the use of social media for health information. about COVID-19 – and shows that, for some migrant and ethnic minority populations, social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are important sources of information about COVID-19.

Both positive and negative associations have been reported with social media use, with some evidence suggesting that circulating misinformation and social media use may be associated with lower participation in preventive health measures, including intention and vaccine uptake, results likely to be relevant for several population groups. .

However, the study – led by Dr Lucy Goldsmith and Dr Sally Hargreaves (St George’s, University of London, UK) and their colleagues – also highlights positive experiences on social media that can increase the likelihood that people from these marginalized groups get vaccinated – like these posts that share personalized and culturally appropriate public health information.

The authors state, “Urgent actions are now needed to better understand the use of social media platforms to access health information by different population groups, especially groups marginalized from health systems. Effective approaches are needed to counter circulating misinformation and seize opportunities to better use social media platforms to support public health communication and improve vaccine uptake.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been accompanied by a so-called “infodemic”, defined by the WHO as excessive information “including false/misleading information” that can amplify harmful messages and undermine trust in health authorities. Populations facing barriers to accessing reliable public health information, including migrants and ethnic minority groups, may be disproportionately affected by misinformation circulating through social media, including on social media platforms. social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram), but it didn’t rate well for Date.

In this research, the authors conducted a systematic review to establish the use of social media by migrant and ethnic minority groups to access COVID-19 health information, and the extent to which this influenced their response to COVID -19, including vaccination intention and uptake.

The authors systematically reviewed searches listed in the WHO Global COVID-19 Search Database* for articles reporting on the use of social media by migrants and ethnic minorities around the world to obtain information about COVID-19 and the impact of social media on these groups’ response to COVID-19[FEMININEIlscomprenaientdesarticlesdanstoutesleslanguessansrestrictiongéographique

The final analysis included 21 studies from 6 countries (China, Jordan, Qatar, Turkey, UK and USA) after reviewing 1849 unique records. For some migrant and ethnic minority groups, consistent use of social media platforms to share and receive health information related to COVID-19 was reported in several included studies. For example, social media would be the preferred source of information on COVID-19 for international migrants in China (WeChat was used by 94.5% of respondents to obtain information on COVID-19). Among 389 Syrian refugee mothers in Jordan, Facebook and WhatsApp were the main sources of information about COVID-19 for 87% and 69% of respondents respectively.

The authors explain that some migrants and ethnic minority groups may experience barriers to accessing official public health information about COVID-19 in their host country, including language barriers, poor access, and low health literacy. Some studies have established links between social media and the dissemination of misinformation in migrant and ethnic minority groups, although the evidence is limited. A small number of studies have linked social media use to lower uptake of preventive measures such as vaccination intention among migrants and ethnic minority groups, a finding generalizable to other population groups. population.

For example, a UK qualitative study of undocumented migrants found that among 23 participants who were hesitant to receive a vaccine, some participants described fears around theories based on misinformation, often coming from social media or word of mouth, many describing a sense of conflict over information. trusted sources. Data suggests that exposure to misinformation on social media is negatively correlated with intention to vaccinate, but when social media is used to share personalized and culturally appropriate public health information, there is a positive correlation with health knowledge and vaccination intention.

The study gathered common misinformation circulating through social media platforms, including:

  • Many will be sterile after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The COVID-19 vaccine contains a chip to track individuals.
  • Yale University and the US government are experimenting with propaganda to persuade Americans to take a dangerous experimental vaccine.
  • Testing for COVID-19 is useless because it gives so many false positives. Self-isolation is also ineffective.
  • Children who test positive for COVID-19 at school will be cared for and isolated from their parents until they test negative.
  • All of the monkeys used in the initial testing of the COVID-19 vaccine subsequently contracted COVID-19.
  • COVID-19 is propaganda designed to control society.
  • China or other governments deliberately created COVID-19 to control the population.
  • COVID-19 was invented to force everyone to use the contactless payments the government uses to track people
  • 5G technology caused COVID-19

Other studies have demonstrated how social media can successfully deliver public health information in the media channel preferred by target groups in multiple languages. Trusted local voices, including community leaders, delivering specific and targeted messages to counter fake news have also been successful.

The authors conclude: “Social media networks are important sources of health information for migrants and ethnic minorities. However, data is lacking, especially for low- and middle-income countries, and further research is needed to better understand the impact of circulating misinformation. via social media platforms on all populations, but especially those who may be marginalized from health systems. In addition, it will be important now to seize opportunities to better use social media platforms to support public health and improve vaccine uptake globally. ”


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Provided by the European Society for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases

Quote: Social media platforms are an important source of COVID information for migrant and ethnic minority populations (2022, February 17) Retrieved February 18, 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-02- social-media-platforms-important-source.html

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