THE influence OF social media ON CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC MISINFORMATION
1.1 The Study's Background
The flood of coronavirus (covid-19)-related content has turned into a high-stakes test of social media platforms' ability to combat misinformation. False advice on how to avoid contracting the virus or what precautions infected people should take to avoid spreading it has the potential to increase sickness and death from a pandemic that has already claimed thousands of lives worldwide WHO (2020).
On March 11, there were more than 19 million mentions of covid-19 across social media, blogs, and online news sites worldwide, according to data from social media analytics platform Sprinklr (2020). In comparison, mentions of US President Donald Trump on the same day totaled around 4 million. Many of the COVID-19 mentions were likely legitimate, but given the disease's novelty and the fast-changing nature of related news, it's safe to assume that a large portion was incorrect or outdated.
On most social media platforms, the current battle against misinformation is primarily focused on so-called “bad actors” who deliberately spread lies and misleading information, sometimes for political gain. For example, Facebook employs an automated system to serve potentially inaccurate content to third-party fact-checkers, who then identify, review, and rate inaccurate stories in order to reduce their distribution. It's a time-consuming and resource-intensive process, and concerns about its effectiveness were raised before the coronavirus conversation erupted on social media.
Schultze (2009) defined social media as a collection of tools and online space that can assist individuals and businesses in meeting their information and communication needs.
Twitter and Facebook were also among the first to provide accurate COVID-19 information. However, because ordinary citizens, celebrities, politicians, and others use social media to share their coronavirus experiences, air grievances, and simply kill time while isolating themselves, important health and safety information is easily drowned out. Many users may be well-intentioned but uninformed, and they may unintentionally spread incorrect information.
As a result, social media platforms have taken unprecedented measures to combat the spread of coronavirus misinformation. Facebook has given the World Health Organization (WHO) as many free ads as they require and has blocked ads from brands that may be exploiting the situation, such as claiming that their products can cure the virus.
In addition, there will be more fact-checking and a pop-up that will direct users who search for coronavirus directly to the WHO's website or a local health authority. Twitter also directs users to the websites of local health authorities, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States.
The major social platforms, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit, Twitter, and YouTube, as well as Google and microsoft, issued a joint statement announcing their collaboration to combat COVID-19-related misinformation. We are assisting millions of people in remaining connected while also combating virus fraud and misinformation, elevating authoritative content on our platforms, and sharing critical updates in collaboration with government healthcare agencies around the world.
1.2 Problem identification
The purpose of social media is to meet society's information needs. However, the noted problem is that most information is not from a reliable source or is not credible. In line with the press's social responsibility role. According to Onabajo (2002), the majority of current discussions stem from broadcast media. Most social media users ignore news about the country and are more concerned with entertainment. This has resulted in cultural imperialism affecting the nation, as the use of smart phones affects our perception of how we think, act, and behave in our respective lifestyles in Nigeria.
This shows that many people read and watch news they don't trust. Because news information is obtained from disbelieved individuals, anyone can disseminate news information at any time. Because reported levels of trust in the media are relatively low, it is understandable that some people will watch news they claim they do not trust in order to filter out information, and thus they are considered biased or untrustworthy.
1.3 The Study's Objectives
The study's main goal is to look into the role of social media in combating misinformation about coronavirus pandamic. The following are the study's specific objectives:
i. examine the major social media platforms used to combat the spread of COVID19 fake information.
ii. Examine the various misconceptions about COVID19 that have circulated on the internet.
iii. To recommend the best method for preventing the spread of false information on covid19.
iv. To investigate the public's perception of social media's contribution to the fight against fake news on Covid19 in Nigeria.
1.4 Research Concerns
i. What are the major social media platforms used to combat the spread of fake COVID19 information?
ii. What are the various misconceptions about COVID19 that have spread on the internet?
iii. What are the best methods for preventing the spread of false information on covid19?
iv. What is the general public's perception of social media's role in combating fake news on Covid19 in Nigeria?
1.5 importance of Research
The research will be extremely useful in regulating the use of social media and the mode of new age communication, as well as in regularizing the use of social media and its impact on the masses.
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THE INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC MISINFORMATION