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Social Media And Management Of Covid-19 Information In Nigeria


1.1 Background of study
1.2 Statement of the Problem
1.3 Research Questions
1.4 Objective of the Study
1.5 Significance of the Study
1.6 Limitations of the Study
1.8 De-Limitations of the Study
2.1 Conceptual Review
2.2 Corona Virus Infectious Disease-2019(COVID-19)
2.3 Empirical Review
2.5 Policy Regarding Infectious Disease and Pandemic
3.1 Research Design
3.2 Sources of Data
3.3 Population and Sampling
3.4 Data Collection Tools and Technique
3.5 Data Collection Process
3.6 Data Processing and Analysis
5.1 Summary
5.2 Conclusion
5.3 Recommendation


Social Media is an invaluable means of disseminating information to the citizenry; hence it is a powerful tool of propaganda. In lieu of the Nigerian situation, it acts as a two-edged sword as it allows citizens to be privy to information without impediments. However, this same tool has been used to misinform the populace and to circulate unverifiable and deceptive messages to citizens. As regards this, the basic question becomes: what are the advantages and disadvantages of the roles of social media in informing the general public about pandemics such as Covid19?

This qualitative study would explore social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, blogs, online newspapers, and YouTube where the contestations about the pandemic are most pronounced. Considering that these are the major mainstream forums used by the populace outside the World Health Organisations (WHO), Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and State institutions, the most pervasive messages from these forums have been selected for analysis. The paper therefore interrogates the roles which social media play in either curtailing or aiding the spread of the news on the pandemic across the country. The research concludes that the significance of Social Media outlets cannot be overemphasized with recourse to information dissemination. It also purports that these platforms have been abused as people hide under its anonymity to spread fake messages and instigate panic amongst members of the general public.



  • Background of study

Over the years, social media has become an active technological tool in Nigeria; as well as a news and communication channel for the citizenry of Nigeria. Access to mobile telephony especially among the technologically savvy youths has made dissemination of information easy with a snap of the finger. In recent times, as the pandemic encroaches on and emasculates world activities, social media platforms have been utilized as an information outlet to citizens. Its significance has gained more recognition owing especially to the fact that the government implemented a lockdown policy to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Thus, it has become an active tool for engagement and communication for the dissemination of plausible information as well as incredulous (mis)information.

There is a growing body of literature on social media. A critical analysis shows change and continuity in communication and information technology. Let’s examine below some of the issues. Social Media is an offshoot of the Internet and according to DiMaggio et al. (2001, p. 307), the Internet refers to the electronic network or networks that link(s) people and information through computers and other digital devices; thereby allowing for person-to-person communication and information retrieval. The Internet is a major tool that emerged for the purpose of information dissemination; thus, the media acts as an information hegemon in terms of determining what information is made available to people as well as the impression people have on issues (Savrum & Leon, 2015). Largely, Social Media is the collection of websites and web-based systems that allow for mass interaction, conversation and sharing among members of a network (Murphy, 2013, p. 3). These diverse media outlets and communication networks played an important role in facilitating uprisings such as the Arab spring (AlSayyad & Guvenc, 2015, p. 2025). Its power lies in live pictures conveyed by video recording of events as it unfolds. The international livestreaming of events is capable of mobilizing a huge population of citizenry for positive or negative end. More so, it has played an important role in crippling dictatorial regimes. Unfortunately, these various outlets have been abused as unscrupulous people hide under its anonymity to defraud or relay false information. As the importance of social media is not lost on the general public for information engagement, its abuse in Nigeria especially during this emergency period is neither lost on any keen observer. Consequently, its advantages and disadvantages are highlighted in this study.

The Coronavirus (Covid-19) is an infectious disease causes respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe respiratory difficulties. It originated from the Hunan seafood market at Wuhan, China where live bats, snakes, raccoon dogs, wild animals among others were sold in December 2019 (Shereen et al., 2020, pp. 91–98) and was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on 11 March 2020 (WHO, 2020). Since its identification, the virus is said to have accounted for about 512,311 deaths globally out of a swooping statistic of 10,514,028 positive cases which sadly increases exponentially daily (WHO, 2020). The first victim of the virus in Nigeria was an Italian man who arrived in the country on the 25 February 2020. He was admitted to an Isolation Centre in Yaba Lagos after showing symptoms of the virus (NCDC 2020). Subsequently, the cases increased and, as at the time of this paper, almost 28,711 positive cases and 11,665 recuperated persons have been identified (NCDC, 2020).

Noticeably, Nigeria is trying to curb the rapid spread of Covid-19 through immediate lockdown of the major epicenters of Lagos, Ogun, and Abuja: commercial and administrative hubs of the country; where there have been spike of coronavirus cases. Some state governors have also taken proactive actions by closing their “borders” in a bid to curtail the spread of the virus. Other measures include prohibition of mass gathering of people at churches, sports arenas and burials while schools were closed nationwide. The achievement of these feats can be attributed not just to proper healthcare facilities but also to the impacts of social media in the country. Its platforms: WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube have become varying means of communication and engagement by not just the government but by the general populace. Contrarily, social media is also utilized as a means of propaganda in disclosing news and information, which at most are based on assumptions and speculations. On this note, this paper intends to interrogate the use of social media as a tool for the good, the bad and the ugly.


During COVID-19 outbreak, many individuals, organizations and government agencies are posting their views regarding the Corona Virus in social media (Pokharel, 2020). People are using different social media platform for different reasons in the COVID-19 pandemic which creates the different implications in society concerning to health and overall crisis management in the society. This research explores both positive and negative influences of social media concerning COVID-19 pandemic and its resultant crisis; whether social media has been helpful or harmful during this critical time.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The world has leaped forward in terms of using internet based technologies for information flow and social media is a very popular means in every way of life. It is not a hidden fact that in Nigeria Social media were used massively during two historically challenging times like the Ebola of 2014 and the Lassa fever of 2017.

News creation and consumption have come in different ways since the advent of social media. The widespread of the COVID-19 resulted in a tsunami of social media (Mourad, 2020).

The need for the study arises as concerned authorities like WHO, government offices, doctors, health professionals, the general public, learners, students, and academicians are using social media during the COVID-19 pandemic for multiple reasons. People in social media are doing many things concerned with the COVID-19 pandemic; people are expressing their opinions and sentiments; people are participating in a virtual debate that might have both positive and negative implications in the society especially for the management of the crisis.

Bastani &Bahrami (2020) found in the web-2 era, much of this misinformation is disseminated via social media where information could spread easily. An amount of potentially dangerous misinformation has been generated about the COVID-19 pandemic; which has been communicated via social networks. This misinformation comprises of different aspects of the epidemic, which is capable of threatening public safety, which further worsens the situation. This false and misleading news about COVID-19 is transferred faster than the virus, and it seems that people are fighting with two aspects of crisis e.g. virus and the associated misinformation with it simultaneously. The use of social media in risk communication about the global H1N1 flu epidemics showed that for the dissemination of risk messages and public participation of risk communication and management process different institutions and cultures can make use of social media (Ding & Zhang, 2010). Above mentioned studies have contradictory findings. Bastani & Bahrami(2020) argue as social media has been a major source of misinformation which has put public health at risk; however, Ding & Zhang (2010) argue as social media can be used for the dissemination of information in order to minimize risk and management of crisis at the time of the pandemic.


1.3 Research Questions

  1. What role social media are playing in raising awareness about the COVID-19 pandemic in society?
  2. What are the roles and contributions of social media to foster social collectiveness in the COVID-19 pandemic?

1.4 Objective of the Study

  1. To explore the roles of social media in raising awareness in COVID-19 in society.
  2. To assess the roles and contributions of social media to build the social collectiveness in the COVID-19 pandemic?

1.5 Significance of the Study

This research looked at the role of social media in society during the pandemic. It explores the both positive and negative implications of social media.

It will thus make us aware of the rational utilization of social media. This study supplies abundant information on the role of social media in raising awareness and achieving collective action. This study will be helpful in formulating plans and policies on social media regarding their use and misuse during pandemics and other critical times in society for the associated risk management.

This might be an important contribution to understand the role and influence of social media in the lives of people and society. This study provides abundant information on the ways social media can be used to cope with the pandemic situation. This study might be one of the contributions for the productions of knowledge regarding this particular predicament of COVID-19 which might be helpful in further researches and studies.

1.6 Limitations of the Study

This study is apprehensible only to those people who are with social media and data are collected only from the social media users. COVID-19 pandemic is still prevalent in the world including Nigeria at the time of writing this thesis. This research is based on respondent’s experiences and opinions with social media during COVID- 19 till the time study was conducted.


1.8 De-Limitations of the Study

I reviewed limited theoretical, methodological, and empirical literature. I employed only interviews, observation, sample survey and case study methods to get the primary information from the field.


The fieldwork for the research was conducted within a short period of time; one- month fieldwork was carried out which might not be adequate time for the analysis of the role of social media at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The study is conducted among a sample of 40 social media users which may not be representative to explore the entire issues of research. I concentrated my study only among people aged from 16 -60. The experience and opinion of respondents may vary regarding the age of respondents therefore, the study may not be generalized for a bigger picture. Similarly, this study was carried out with the residents of Ikono LGA of Akwa Ibom state. I do not claim that this study might the representative of all people living across the country.


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