Social media has always been applauded as well as criticized for various reasons since many years. In the current scenario it plays an integral part in our lives as we can't communicate with each other effectively without social media. In such difficult times, when we lack human touch, it's horrifying to imagine such a situation wherein social media is absent. The spread of information is faster than COVID-19 itself. Social media has experienced new records of users almost every single day during the outbreak of COVID-19; according to various social media companies.
Pandemic has led to growth or accurately stating the rebirth of sharing misleading and fake information across social media. Something more strange is that news about patients recovering from covid doesn’t get as much attention as the reports containing the death count. There is a stock of misleading information and conspiracy theories being shared across various social media platforms. Users are spreading this information with ease and speed and this has brewed uncertainty and catalyzed panic.
Let me include some incidents to make this hypothetical event more evident. In many parts, people started panicking about buying essentials such as toilet paper and hand sanitizers due to the fear of the pandemic which arose from the news which was floated on various social platforms. One can’t really blame them. With a large amount of information reaching us, the authenticity of each news item can't be verified.
In Nigeria, health authorities were warning against self-medicating, after the case of two patients overdosing on the anti-malaria drug chloroquine, which was claimed to be a possible treatment for coronavirus.
Such events are enough to make us believe that the use of social media to such an extent amidst pandemics poses a threat for many individuals knowingly as well as unknowingly. We all are aware about this fact that everything comes with its own positive and negative aspects. Social media has given us a lot of benefits no doubt, but along with it comes a whole lot of risks, doubts, fake news, and the list is neverending.
So, it totally depends on us how we look upon it, how we use it because social media is a boon as well as a bane in its own way.
S. Y. B. Pharm