Since the start of the pandemic, people are spending more time on social media to get entertained with videos and photos on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. People rely on these to stay connected with people around the world; to be informed and updated on global events. It caused the rapid rise of numbers of social media users up by 3.96 billion according to the data analyzed by DataReportal in July 2020.
Online platforms are helpful and useful, especially in today’s situation, since people can see daily updates on the pandemic. However, it can also increase the risk of depression and anxiety symptoms due to the spread of distressing information. Large social media platforms are reportedly taking steps to remove false information or conspiracy theories about the pandemic through artificial intelligence, and to distribute reliable information, as developed by the World Health Organization.
Social media provides a unique opportunity for health professionals to distribute accurate information to the public. In some countries, professionals have shared information by making videos and other initiatives on mental health education. Other organizations like MentalHealthPH have done initiatives on spreading factual information at the early stage of the pandemic.
This August 30, at 7pm to 8pm, join us on Twitter as we tackle the effect of spreading misinformation on social media on our mental health amidst the pandemic by answering the following questions:
- How does the spread of false or distressing information affect our social media use and mental health?
- Have you encountered any information related to the pandemic that caused confusion or anxiety? What was it about and how did you deal with it?
- As a social media user, how can you contribute to combating misinformation?