Social media and COVID-19: Where Gen Z and millennials find pandemic news | WARC | The Feed
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Social media and COVID-19: Where Gen Z and millennials find pandemic news
Rumours, unproven cures and conspiracy theories – amplified on social media and messaging platforms – pose as much of a threat to public health as the coronavirus itself, a new study says.
In a study of 24 countries, Wunderman Thompson, University of Melbourne and Pollfish – in collaboration with WHO – ask Gen Z and millennials in pandemic hotspots where they are getting their COVID-19 information, who they trust as sources and their awareness of false news.
Why it matters
The study examines the size of Gen Z and millennials’ social media networks and how likely they are to share unverified information. The insights gleaned from the survey will be relevant to governments, health organisations, educators, media and businesses to help them sharpen their health communications.
Six key insights
- The top source of COVID-19 information for Gen Z and millennials remains the mainstream media (43.6%), followed by search platforms (36.2%) and social media content from traditional media (34.2%). Friends and family ranked lower in terms of sources of information.
- Science content is shareworthy: Gen Z and millennials are most likely to share scientific content on social media (43.9%) and information relevant to themselves (36.7%).
- High awareness and high apathy: 59.1% are very aware that COVID-19 information on social media and messaging platforms could be false but only 35% ignore content that they find out to be false.
- Beyond getting sick, Gen Z and millennials worry about the risk of friends and family contracting COVID-19 (55.5%), the economy crashing (53.8%), and employment uncertainty (39.8%). The crashing economy is the top concern in half of the 24 countries surveyed.
- The interest in vaccines is soaring, with 55% interested in a COVID-19 vaccine and 41.9% stating that social media content by the WHO would be their first source of vaccine information.
- Despite information overload, Gen Z and millennials don’t have the full picture, with 58.3% overwhelmed by information, 52% no longer paying attention to COVID-19 news, 59.3% feeling the media is not telling them everything, and 57.1% feeling their government is not giving the full picture on the pandemic.
Sourced from Wunderman Thompson, University of Melbourne, Pollfish
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