Background of the study
The dissemination of misinformation, aided by social media and other digital platforms, has proven to be a greater threat to global public health than the virus itself, as the COVID-19 pandemic has shown. People can stay safe, informed, and connected thanks to technological improvements and social media. The same techniques, on the other hand, enable and amplify the present pandemic, which continues to impair global reaction and risk pandemic-control measures.
Despite the fact that young people are at a lower risk of serious sickness from COVID-19, they are an important group in the context of the pandemic and share in the communal responsibility of helping us stop transmission. They’re also the most engaged online, with an average of 5 digital interactions every day.
People have used social networking sites as a source of information as the pandemic has encroached on and weakened worldwide operations. The government’s establishment of a lockdown policy to limit the spread of the Covid-19 virus has increased its significance. As a result, social media has grown into an active instrument for participation and conversation with the goal of disseminating accurate information.
The Internet refers to the electronic network or networks that link(s) people and information through computers and other digital devices, allowing for person-to-person communication and information retrieval, according to DiMaggio et al. (2001). The Internet is a major instrument that was developed for the goal of disseminating information.
Social media, in general, is a collection of websites and web-based platforms that allow for mass contact, conversation, and sharing among network users (Murphy, 2013). Its potency is in the real-time images communicated through video capturing of events as they happen. The ability to mobilize a large group of citizens for positive or negative ends is enabled by international live-streaming of events.
Coronavirus (Covid-19) is an infectious illness that causes respiratory infections ranging from a simple cold to more serious respiratory problems. It began in December 2019 at the Hunan seafood market in Wuhan, China, where live bats, snakes, raccoon dogs, and other wild creatures were sold (Shereen et al., 2020, pp. 91–98), and the World Health Organization designated it a pandemic on March 11, 2020. However, there is an immediate need to monitor and manage information and data about the Covid-19 that has been released on various social media platforms in order to ensure that people do not spread unrealistic assumptions and panic-inducing information about the novel disease, whether by the government or by private users. This is due to the impact that this information has on the general population, which may generate worry, a loss of faith in the government, and harm to people who have been infected by the virus. As a result, the purpose of this study is to look into social media and the management of Covid-19 information.
Statement of the problem
Faced with fears of the novel corona virus spreading, social media has become an important tool for disseminating information to the general public. It is a double-edged sword in Nigeria because it allows people to access information without restriction. An international survey was done to better understand how young adults are interacting with technology during this global communication crisis, with roughly 23,500 respondents aged 18-40 years old from 24 nations across five continents. The World Health Organization (WHO), Wunderman Thompson, the University of Melbourne, and Pollfish collaborated on this research. The results, based on data collected from late October 2020 to early January 2021, reveal where Gen Z (those born between 1997 and 2015) are headed. In this time of global crises, the information that young people are exposed to is important because it determines their reactions (in terms of covid-19 causes and compliance with covid-19 safety measures and practices) to novel infections, which can either diminish or escalate the virus’s spread. Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, Tik-Tok, Facebook, and YouTube are among the popular social media platforms used by Nigerians. Covid-19 material, data, and information posted on these platforms, on the other hand, might play a negative or beneficial impact in containing or spreading the corona virus, necessitating the necessity for information management. However, it is against this backdrop that this study will look into social media and Covid-19 management.
Objective of the Study
The purpose of this study is to look into social media and the management of Covid-19 data in Port Harcourt. It is aimed towards the following people in particular:
Check to see if any information about Covid-19 has been shared on social media.
Determine whether or not material about Covid-19 provided on social media platforms is consistent with WHO guidelines.
Examine how much Covid-19 information is posted on social media channels and how well it is handled.
Significance of the study
This research would be of interest to the general public and would add to the corpus of knowledge. It will also serve as a wake-up call for social media content creators to improve their efficiency while creating unique content in order to stop the corona virus from spreading. It will also raise social media users’ awareness of the need to avoid spreading false or inaccurate information regarding the corona virus and its mechanism of infection. The study will inform government and policymakers about the importance of monitoring content shared on social media platforms in order to avoid sending panic-related messages to the general public, which can harm their mood and cause them to lose faith in the government’s efforts to combat terrorism.
Scope the study
This study aims to see if information about Covid-19 is shared on social media, as well as to see how closely information on Covid-19 published on social media platforms matches that of WHO. The extent to which Covid-19 information provided on social media platforms is regulated is also investigated in this study. Participants in this study are social media users in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
This research is guided by the following questions:
Is there any information on Covid-19 on social media?
To what extent is information on Covid-19 shared on social media sites consistent with WHO guidelines?
To what extent is information about Covid-19 disseminated on social media channels managed?
LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraints– A lack of funds impedes the researcher’s efficiency in locating relevant materials, literature, or information, as well as in the data gathering procedure (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint– The researcher will be working on this subject while also doing other academic tasks. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.
Despite the limitations indicated above, the researcher worked diligently to guarantee that the study’s goal was met.
Definition of terms
The term “social media” refers to a set of websites and web-based platforms that enable large-scale contact, conversation, and sharing among network members. Its potency is in the real-time images communicated through video capturing of events as they happen. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, and other social media platforms are examples.
The condition caused by a novel corona virus known as severe acute respiratory syndrome corona virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is known as Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Information is news or knowledge about a certain fact or circumstance that is delivered or received.
Information Management refers to the organization and control of information’s structure, processing, and distribution.