Social Media & Public Health: Friends or Foes?

Social media (SoMe) is gradually ingrained into our lifestyle. More than 70% of adults spent on average 2 hours in at least one of the SoMe platforms. Vast amount of information and data closely linked to our life are exchanged through SoMe. World Health Organization (WHO) early recognized the threats for the public health from this infodemic.
In a recently published article in JMIR, de Vere Hunt and Linos, propose a framework as a guide for the use of SoMe for public health campaigns establishing 5 key principles: 1) Tailored messages for the different population groups, 2) Active involvement of the group members in-scope in the development of the message, 3) Effective identification of misinformation and “fake” news, 4) Leverage of the messages impact via improved shareability through cooperation with SoMe influencers, and 5) Impact assessment through metrics. The establishment of such “rules” seem very important when considering that the majority of SoMe users are aware of “fake” news, but they are mostly ignoring them, and only the minority of them report or comment on them (WHO 2021, here). Thus, the authors of the article advice the key#healthcare and public healt stakeholders and decision makers to be more proactive and careful when using SoMe for health promotion.
Read the full article here.