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Does social media provide adequate health education for prevention of COVID-19? A case study of YouTube videos on social distancing and hand-washing.

Authors
  • Bora, Kaustubh
  • Pagdhune, Avinash
  • Patgiri, Saurav Jyoti
  • Barman, Bhupen
  • Das, Dulmoni
  • Borah, Probodh
Type
Published Article
Journal
Health education research
Publication Date
Jan 22, 2022
Volume
36
Issue
4
Pages
398–411
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1093/her/cyab028
PMID: 34230968
Source
Medline
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Social media offers an opportune platform for educating the public about the recommended interventions during global health emergencies. This case study evaluated information in the popular social media platform YouTube about two key interventions (namely, 'social distancing' and 'hand washing') recommended during coronavirus disease-2019. Using the keywords 'social distancing' and 'hand washing', 77 and 78 videos, respectively, were selected from YouTube through pre-defined criteria. The understandability, actionability and quality of information in these videos were assessed. Cumulatively, the social distancing videos received >9 million views and the hand-washing videos received >37 million views. Thirteen social distancing videos (16.9%) and 46 hand-washing videos (58.9%) provided understandable, actionable and good-quality information. The non-understandable, non-actionable or poor-quality videos had paradoxically more viewer engagements than the understandable, actionable or good-quality videos, respectively. Most social distancing videos came from news agencies (68.8%). Hand-washing videos were mostly uploaded by health agencies or academic institutes (52.6%). The videos were less likely to be understandable and actionable and to be of good quality when uploaded by sources other than health agencies or academic institutes. The paucity of adequate information and the limited representation of 'authoritative' sources were concerning. Strategies for harnessing social media as an effective medium for public health education are necessary during pandemics. © The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: [email protected]

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