The study reveals that at least one in every four COVID-19 related videos on YouTube in English contain misleading or false information. The findings of the study are published in BMJ Global Health.
Researchers warned that spam public health information on the novel coronavirus is reaching the far fetched audiences and this rate is much higher than in any pandemics in the past and has a chance of spreading false reports. While accurate information provided by the government and the health experts is broadly accessible on YouTube, sometimes it might be hard to realize that it has no appeal for the general public. that’s, why it doesn’t, reach all audiences.
This new research reveals that YouTube could be a helpful and misleading information tool at the same time. previously, it had some role in spreading misinformation during health emergencies, such as the swine flu (HIN1), Spanish flu pandemic, and the Zika and Ebola cases outbreak.
For trying and providing the more modern and popular assessment tool for knowing the quality and accuracy of the information on the novel coronavirus YouTube, the experts have picked the most viewed coronavirus related videos fromYouTube posted till 21 March 2020. Nearly half of the original number qualified to be a part of this analysis after excluding the duplicates, in other languages, it lasted more than one hour and didn’t contain visual or audio content.
The authenticity and quality of this online content were assessed by using validated measuring systems such as mJAMA and mDISCERN. While the value and practicality of all this online information for a standard viewer with normal IQ was evaluated by using a “COVID-19 specific score (CSS)”, designed for similar scoring systems that were used during similar public health crises.
Every real data online was given a CSS point for; the spread of the virus, standard signs, and symptoms, possible medication, prevention, and epidemiology. Expert and government’s official data scored altogether higher for quality, accuracy, and usability among all other measures than any of the different sources. The total views on all these 69 videos that were studied in this experiment were nearly 257, 804,146.
Inaccurate and misleading information in CSS criteria,i.e., the conviction that pharma corporations are already having the cure but they are not selling it or coronavirus strain is more deadly in some countries than others and unsuitable recommendations for the people; discriminatory and racists remarks; and different conspiracy theories
Researchers said as the potential of social media depends upon the number of views on a particular piece of information that is out there open for everyone.
Experts admit that they used the data obtained in only one day, and picked content in the English language only. But the video views that were a part of their study are much more than any other similar study has reported so far.
The engagement and learning of the viewers are important in the administration of the COVID-19 pandemic by making sure that the public understands what is told to them. Considering the influence of social media in molding public behavior and understanding, YouTube is an incredible, powerful informative tool that must be better mobilized by health care professionals.