Building Trust while Influencing Online COVID-19 Content in the Social Media World

Date of Publication
2020

Unlike historical pandemics, such as the 1918 H1N1 pandemic, COVID-19 is spreading across a highly connected world, in which virtually all individuals are linked to each other through the mobile phone in their pockets. Because of strict physical distancing measures, people are heavily reliant on maintaining connectivity using global digital social networks, such as Facebook or Twitter, to facilitate human interaction and information sharing about the virus.

n what follows, the authors discuss some ways in which social media has undermined effective responses to COVID-19. They consider how various groups could respond to these challenges—especially government leaders, social media companies, and healthcare providers. Ultimately, these actors each have roles to play in preventing social media from being weaponised to sow distrust and further endanger public health, while also ensuring that social media can fulfill its essential civic function of facilitating good faith political expression and discourse.