Facebook Is Most Used Social Media Platform for COVID-19 (Coronavirus) News

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Source: TeroVesalainen, needpix.com (accessed May 18, 2020)

According to a report from flixed.io, 35.8% of people use Facebook as their primary social media platform for news about the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. The social media network was followed in popularity by Twitter (17.0%), YouTube (16.3%), Reddit (12.4%), and other platforms (12.7%) for news about the virus. 5.8% reported that they do not use social media.

A majority of people (57.6%) who tended to use Reddit for their primary pandemic news source were more likely to report worsening mental health since the start of 2020. Among Facebook users, 41.6% reported a decline in mental health, followed by Twitter (43.0%), YouTube (32.2%), and other platforms (32.5%). The lowest likelihood of worse mental health during the pandemic was reported by those who did not use social media (26.2%).

People who listed social media platforms other than those named above for their primary coronavirus news reported the highest likelihood of better mental health (54.3%) this year. YouTube came in second at 46.6%, followed by Twitter (38.4%), Facebook (37.1%), and Reddit (22.6%). 39.2% of people who do not use social media reported better mental health.

Social media platforms have seen a surge in use with engagement on social media increasing 61% over normal rates and messaging on the platforms increasing 50%.

Most of the major platforms are working to combat misinformation and conspiracy theories, which have ramped up in recent months. The World Health Organization (WHO) stated,”The 2019-nCoV outbreak and response has been accompanied by a massive ‘infodemic’ – an over-abundance of information – some accurate and some not – that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it.” The WHO and the CDC have been adding myth busters and other public health information to their social media platforms.

Both Joe Biden and Donald Trump believe the federal government should step in to regulate social media to prevent the spread of fake news and misinformation. Read what the presidential candidates think about other issues on ProCon.org’s
2020 Election site.

Discussion Questions – Things to Think About
1. Do you use social media to get news about COVID-19 (coronavirus)? Why or why not? Which platform(s) do you use and why? Explain your answers.

2. How do you think critically about news to determine if the information is trustworthy? Explain you answer and give examples if possible.

3. Should the federal government regulate social media to prevent the spread of false news and misinformation? Explain your answer


CDC, facebook.com (accessed May 18, 2020)

Flixed Team, “The COVID-19 Media Diet,” flixed.io, Apr. 20, 2020

Ryan Holmes, “Is COVID-19 Social Media’s Levelling up Moment?,” forbes.com, Apr. 24, 2020

Kantar, “COVID-10 Barometer: Consumer Attitudes, Media Habits and Expectations,” kantar.com, Apr. 3, 2020

World Health Organization, “Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Situation Report – 13,” who.int, Feb. 2, 2020