The nature, cause and consequence of COVID-19 panic among social media users in India


Bhattacharya C., Chowdhury D., Ahmed N., Ozgur S., Bhattacharya B., Mridha S. K. , ...More

SOCIAL NETWORK ANALYSIS AND MINING, vol.11, no.1, 2021 (Journal Indexed in ESCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 11 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s13278-021-00750-2
  • Title of Journal : SOCIAL NETWORK ANALYSIS AND MINING
  • Keywords: COVID-19, Panic, Anxiety, Mental health, Social media, HEALTH-CARE, SPREAD, NEWS

Abstract

The recent pandemic of COVID-19 has not only shaken the healthcare but also economic structure around the world. In addition to these direct effects, it has also brought in some indirect difficulties owing to the information epidemic (hereafter termed as infodemic) on social media. We aimed to understand the nature of panic social media users in India are experiencing due to the flow of (mis)information. We further extend this investigation to other countries. We performed a cross-sectional study on 1075 social media users from India and 29 other countries. This revealed a significant increase in social media usage and the rise of panic (symbolizing a sense of alarm and/or fear) over time in India. Several of these behaviors are unique to social media users in India possibly because of later outbreak of COVID-19 and a prolonged uninterrupted lockdown. The amount of social media usage might not be causal but has a significant role in generating panic among the people in India. As multiple countries are entering into the second phase of lockdown, this study focused on India might provide a unique perspective of how various factors, including infodemic, affect the mental state of individuals around the globe.