1.0 Background of the Study

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how the transmission of false information, accelerated by social media and other digital platforms, is posing an even greater threat to public health around the world than the virus itself. Social media and technological breakthroughs offer potential to keep people connected, informed, and protected. The current pandemic, however, is also made possible by and amplified by the same techniques, endangering efforts to manage the pandemic and undermining the effectiveness of the global response.

Young people are a crucial demographic in the context of this pandemic and participate in the responsibility of helping us limit transmission even if they are less likely to develop serious illness from COVID-19. They also engage with an average of five digital channels (including Twitter, TikTok, WeChat, and Instagram) everyday, making them the most active group online.

Social networking networks have been used by people as a source of information as the pandemic has encroached into and crippled international activities. Its significance has increased as a result of the government’s adoption of a lockdown strategy to stop the Covid-19 virus from spreading. Social media subsequently developed into a proactive instrument for interaction and communication in order to spread reliable information.

A branch of the Internet, social media is defined by DiMaggio et al. (2001) as the electronic network (or networks) that connects people and information via computers and other digital devices;  thereby allowing for person-to-person communication and information retrieval.

The social media functions as an information hegemony in terms of determining what information is made available to individuals as well as the perception that people have of issues because the Internet is a significant technology that evolved for the purpose of disseminating information (Savrum & Leon, 2015).

Social media, in its broadest sense, refers to a group of websites and other web-based platforms that enable widespread communication, engagement, and sharing among network users (Murphy, 2013). Its strength comes from the real-time images captured on video when events are being shown live. A large number of citizens can be mobilized through the international live-streaming of events for either positive or bad purposes.

The respiratory infections caused by the infectious illness coronavirus (Covid-19) range from the ordinary cold to more serious respiratory issues. The World Health Organization designated it a pandemic on March 11, 2020, and traced its origin to the Hunan seafood market in Wuhan, China, where live bats, snakes, raccoon dogs, and other wild creatures were sold in December 2019 (Shereen et al., 2020, pp. 91–98). (WHO, 2020).

Significantly, Nigeria, like every other country, attempted to stop the quick spread of Covid-19 by immediately locking down all sectors. Thereafter, various safety guidelines were established in accordance with the World Health Organization’s preventive measures against Corona Virus (NCDC 2020).  The achievement of these feats can be attributed not just to proper healthcare facilities but also to the impacts of social media in the country. Its platforms: WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube have become varying means of communication and engagement by not just the government but by the general populace especially young people. However there is an urgent need to monitor and mange information and data released on various social media platforms regarding the Covid-19 in order to ensure that people do not spread unrealistic assumptions and panic-prone information about the novel disease either by the government or private users. This is due to the effect that this knowledge will have on the general public, which could generate fear, a decline in faith in the government, and harm to individuals who have already contracted the virus. In light of this, this study aims to investigate how knowledge on the Covid-19 is managed through social media.

1.2 Statement of the problem

Social media is a crucial tool for informing the public in the face of concerns about the new corona virus’s spread. It is a two-edged sword in Nigeria since it makes it easier for people to get information without obstacles. An international research with over 23,500 respondents, aged 18 to 40, in 24 countries on five continents was performed to better understand how young adults are interacting with technology during this communication crisis.

This project was a collaboration between the World Health Organization (WHO), Wunderman Thompson, the University of Melbourne and Pollfish. With data collected from late October 2020 to early January 2021, the outcomes provide key insights on where Gen Z (those born between 1997 and 2015 who patronize social media for entertainment and fun, who follow information shared by their favorite influencers without verification) and Millennials (people born between 1981 and 1996, Millennials tend to spend a significant amount of their life in ‘virtual’ social media environments, to the extent that they rely on social media for most information) seek COVID-19 information, who they trust as credible sources, their awareness and actions around false news, and what their concerns are. In this time of global crises, the information that young people are exposed to is important because it may influence how they react to emerging diseases (in terms of covid-19 causes and adherence to covid-19 safety measures and practices), which may either slow or speed up the spread of the virus.

Nigerians frequently use Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, Tik-Tok, Facebook, and YouTube, among other social media platforms. Nonetheless, Covid-19 material, data, and information posted on these platforms can have a beneficial or negative impact on preventing the spread of the Corona virus, necessitating its supervision. In spite of this, this study will look into social media and the management of COVID-19 information.

1.3 Objective of the Study

This study will look at social media and how Covid-19 information is handled in Port Harcourt. It is specifically designed for:
1.  Check to see whether information about COVID-19 has been posted on social media.
2.  Analyze how well the WHO’s information on the COVID-19 corresponds with material provided on social media networks.
3.  Analyze the degree to which Covid-19 information is controlled when it is shared on social media.

1.4 Significance of the study

Both the general public and the corpus of knowledge would benefit from this investigation. In order to stop the corona virus from spreading, it will also serve as a wake-up call for social media content creators to increase their productivity. Also, it will make social media users more aware of the need to ignore false and incorrect information regarding the corona virus and its route of transmission.

The study will inform decision-makers in government and policy on the necessity of policing social media content shared in order to prevent spreading panic-related messages to the reading public as this is detrimental to their disposition and may cause them to lose faith in the government’s efforts to combat the novel corona virus.

This study will add to the body of knowledge already available on the subject, as well as act as a guide and eye-opener for students, academics, and researchers who may choose to conduct additional research on this issue or a closely similar field in the future.

1.5 Scope the study

This study focuses on determining if information about the Covid-19 is shared on social media and to what extent information about the Covid-19 published on social media platforms is consistent with that of the WHO. The management of Covid-19 information provided on social media channels is also examined in this study. Participants in this study are social media users in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

1.6 Research Question

The following queries serve as the study’s compass:

1. Is information about COVID-19 being circulated on social media?
2. How closely does the WHO’s information on the COVID-19 correspond to that posted on social media platforms?
3. How well-managed is the Covid-19 information that is posted on social media platforms?


Financial constraints – A researcher’s ability to find relevant materials, literature, or information and collect data efficiently is often hindered by a lack of funding (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time restraint: The researcher will do this investigation together with other academic activities at the same time. As a result, less time will be spent on the research project.
Yet, despite the aforementioned restrictions, the researcher devotedly worked to make sure that the study’s goal was achieved.

1.8 Definition of Terms

The term “social media” refers to a group of websites and web-based applications that enable widespread communication, engagement, and sharing among users within a network. Its strength comes from the real-time images captured on video when events are being shown live. Social media platforms include, for instance, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, and others.
Corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is characterized as an ailment brought on by the SARS-CoV-2 corona virus, a new strain of the corona virus.
Information: information is a news or knowledge transmitted or received concerning a particular occurrence or circumstance.
Information management is the organization and control over the composition, handling, and transmission of information.


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