Conference paper Open Access

Usage of social media in finding information related to COVID-19

Jayasekara, Prasadi Kanchana

During a pandemic situation, searching and retrieving relevant and accurate health information is a crucial factor. Nowadays with the technological development, people have so many different ways to access information in many formats. However, the Internet was identified as the source that used more commonly to search for health information (Fox & Duggan, 2013). The evolution of the Internet provided social media platforms that are very popular among the general public in the creation and sharing information with anyone, anywhere, anytime. Some researchers have identified that people are using social media in disaster communication (Bunce, Partridge, & Davis, 2012; Jayasekara, 2019) and health communication (Bannor, Asare, & Bawole, 2017; Lim, 2016). COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by SARS-CoV-2. Due to the severity and fast spreading of COVID-19, World Health Organization categorized COVID-19 as a pandemic in March 2020 (World Health Organization, 2020). Hence, the COVID-19 situation is a worldwide health crisis.

Sri Lanka is a small island situated in the Indian Ocean with roughly 22 million population. To prevent the disease spreading, the Sri Lankan government announced an island-wide lockdown. As a result of that, Sri Lankans have to rely on online and digital media for searching information related to COVID-19. Hence, the purpose of this study is to examine the social media usage of Sri Lankans during the COVID-19 pandemic situation to retrieve information related to Coronavirus.

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