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Determinants of Infodemics During Disease Outbreaks: A Systematic Review

Alvarez-Galvez, J; Suarez-Lledo, V; Rojas-Garcia, A; (2021) Determinants of Infodemics During Disease Outbreaks: A Systematic Review. Frontiers in Public Health , 9 , Article 603603. 10.3389/fpubh.2021.603603. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: The widespread use of social media represents an unprecedented opportunity for health promotion. We have more information and evidence-based health related knowledge, for instance about healthy habits or possible risk behaviors. However, these tools also carry some disadvantages since they also open the door to new social and health risks, in particular during health emergencies. This systematic review aims to study the determinants of infodemics during disease outbreaks, drawing on both quantitative and qualitative methods. Methods: We searched research articles in PubMed, Scopus, Medline, Embase, CINAHL, Sociological abstracts, Cochrane Library, and Web of Science. Additional research works were included by searching bibliographies of electronically retrieved review articles. Results: Finally, 42 studies were included in the review. Five determinants of infodemics were identified: (1) information sources; (2) online communities' structure and consensus; (3) communication channels (i.e., mass media, social media, forums, and websites); (4) messages content (i.e., quality of information, sensationalism, etc.,); and (5) context (e.g., social consensus, health emergencies, public opinion, etc.). Studied selected in this systematic review identified different measures to combat misinformation during outbreaks. Conclusion: The clarity of the health promotion messages has been proven essential to prevent the spread of a particular disease and to avoid potential risks, but it is also fundamental to understand the network structure of social media platforms and the emergency context where misinformation might dynamically evolve. Therefore, in order to prevent future infodemics, special attention will need to be paid both to increase the visibility of evidence-based knowledge generated by health organizations and academia, and to detect the possible sources of mis/disinformation.

Type: Article
Title: Determinants of Infodemics During Disease Outbreaks: A Systematic Review
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3389/fpubh.2021.603603
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2021.603603
Language: English
Additional information: © 2021 Alvarez-Galvez, Suarez-Lledo and Rojas-Garcia. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Keywords: infodemics, social media, misinformation, epidemics, outbreaks
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10142543
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