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 Table of Contents  
LETTER TO EDITOR
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 87

Social Media as a Double-Edged Sword: Lessons from COVID-19 Outbreak


Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Practice, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

Date of Submission05-Apr-2020
Date of Acceptance10-Feb-2021
Date of Web Publication09-Jul-2021

Correspondence Address:
Ali Rismanbaf
Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Practice, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan
Iran
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijpvm.IJPVM_173_20

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How to cite this article:
Rismanbaf A. Social Media as a Double-Edged Sword: Lessons from COVID-19 Outbreak. Int J Prev Med 2021;12:87

How to cite this URL:
Rismanbaf A. Social Media as a Double-Edged Sword: Lessons from COVID-19 Outbreak. Int J Prev Med [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Dec 2];12:87. Available from: https://www.ijpvmjournal.net/text.asp?2021/12/1/87/321004



Dear Editor,

COVID-19 is an emerging disease of SARS-CoV-2 origin that was recognized as a pandemic disease on March 11, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Owing to the growing concerns about COVID-19, face-to-face communication decreased due to quarantine in many countries, and widespread access, social media, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, played a significant role in news transmission, shaping the point of view, and people's reactions to COVID-19.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, social media have been able to provide significant assistance; the most prominent of which are the widespread awareness of the COVID-19 symptoms, the prevention of unnecessary visits to medical centers, and also informing personal, environmental, and occupational care. According to reports, social media can also be a platform for patients' and physicians' communication during quarantine, and also social media search indexes (SMSI) can predict the number of possible patients.[1],[2]

Despite these benefits, access to social media during the COVID-19 outbreak has had consequences. One of the most important reported is endangering mental health, especially increased depression and anxiety, following the spread of infodemic.[3] Also, the spread of rumors about the COVID-19 treatment can cause irreversible side effects, such as extensive methanol poisoning.[4] On the other hand, it seems that the state media is not as popular as social media to compete with social media in shaping public opinion, despite the benefit of experts.[5]

As a result, it seems that by restricting public access to medical and drug information and monitoring published information on social media, a swift action to refute infodemic can be taken and the negative role of social media in endangering mental health can be controlled. By controlling the disadvantages, social media can be used as a quick way to inform about prevention and treatment, create awareness, shape perspectives, and reduce mental disorders.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Iacobucci G. Covid-19: Diabetes clinicians set up social media account to help alleviate patients' fears. BMJ 2020;368:m1262.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Qin L, Sun Q, Wang Y, Wu K-F, Chen M, Shia B-C, et al. Prediction of the Number of New Cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Using a Social Media Search Index. 2020. Available from: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3552829.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Gao J, Zheng P, Jia Y, Chen H, Mao Y, Chen S, et al. Mental health problems and social media exposure during COVID-19 outbreak. PLoS One 2020;15:e0231924.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Soltaninejad K. Methanol mass poisoning outbreak: A consequence of COVID-19 pandemic and misleading messages on social media. Int J Occup Environ Med (The IJOEM) 2020;11:148-50.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Nayar KR, Sadasivan L, Shaffi M, Vijayan B, P Rao A. Social Media Messages Related to COVID-19: A Content Analysis. Arathi, Social Media Messages Related to COVID-19: A Content Analysis (March 25, 2020). 2020. Available from: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3560666.  Back to cited text no. 5
    




 

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