Social Media and COVID-19 Pandemic: Analysis of Self-Reported Effects on Users

Hamidreza Tadayon, Hassan Ebrahimpour Sadagheyani, Majid Amiri Gharghani, Mahmood Reza Masoudi, Monireh Sadeqi Jabali
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Abstract

Introduction: Social media plays a crucial role in disseminating information, which can be particularly valuable during the COVID-19 pandemic if the information is accurate. However, inaccurate or rumored information can increase the pressure on users. Despite this, there has been no study in Iran on the effects of social media on users during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, this analytical study aimed to determine the positive and negative effects of social media on users during the pandemic.

Material and Methods: The psychological effects of social media on users have also been investigated from their point of view. The study included 384 social media users who were surveyed using a researcher-made questionnaire. The sample was selected using virtual snowball sampling, and the collected data were analyzed using quantitative and qualitative methods.

Results: Based on users' self-reports, the most significant impact of social media was attributed to informing people about the transmission methods of the disease, while the most negative effect was associated with people's fear of getting sick. Additionally, users believed that social media could be a source of anxiety for people in the community.

Conclusion: The use of social media has significantly increased since the appearance of COVID-19, and users' views suggest that it has both positive and negative effects. To increase the effectiveness of social media, accurate information rather than rumors should be disseminated.

Keywords

Social Media; COVID-19 Pandemic; Psychological Effects; Health Literacy; User’s Viewpoints;

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.30699/fhi.v13i0.587

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