To know about the current situation of COVID 19, and what’s happening around the world, an increasing number of people are relying on social media. Facebook tops the list of trusted sites!

With the increasing uncertainty concerning the Coronavirus outbreak, the internet is already flooded with information and misinformation. In such a sensitive time, the news coverage around COVID-19 is becoming a primary search trend across different channels and social media platforms. Whether it is daily briefings by the state and government officials or guidance from medical teams – information is flowing around the internet and airwaves.

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A new study by Flixed, titled “The COVID-19 Media Diet”, has revealed many exciting findings of people’s social media practice – after analyzing responses from more than 1000 people globally.

It is no surprise that in this digital era, social media usage has skyrocketed amid the worldwide lockdowns. In this regard, Facebook noted the “unprecedented increase in the consumption of news articles” specifically. Most people are on social media today and relying highly on them to keep them well updated and informed with the latest news.

As per the surveyed respondents, only 5.8% said they do not use any social media. The major social media platforms that are being accessed for COVID-19 news are –

  • Facebook: 35.8%
  • Twitter: 17.0%
  • Youtube: 16.3%
  • Reddit: 12.4%
  • Others: 12.7%

The overall US traffic from Facebook to other apps or websites has increased by over 50%. However, people are spending more time on social media than ever as it is updated in real-time with insights. And, this could be both beneficial and problematic at the same time. Even as social media giants are working hard to stop the flow of misinformation, many websites are already targeting the massive reach to extract as many clicks as possible through rumors and speculative reports.

As per the report, there has been a rapid change in the average consumption of daily news. Many women noted that they consume about 2X more news as before Coronavirus. Men are currently consuming 52.1 minutes, up from the earlier 32.4 minutes, and women are spending 53.7 minutes, almost double the time they did before – 27.9 minutes. Overall, there has been an increase of 22 minutes on average for news reading. Demographically speaking, Generation X is spending the most time on the news, increasing to 55.7 minutes from 32.7 minutes, followed by Millennials, who are now spending 53.6 minutes, while earlier they spent 20 minutes. The older baby boomers now read the news on social media for 43.2 minutes, up from27.8 minutes in the past.

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But this is driving another matter of concern – mental health. Nearly 46% of respondents said they are experiencing issues of mental health with more news consumption. It is heartening to know that almost half the respondents decided to do something about it and 43% of people reported they are setting a time limit for the same as it has reported with improved mental health.

In this crisis period, avoiding news is impossible and inadvisable, but it needs to be tackled wisely. Once the pandemic ends, this media frenzy might reduce. Still, until then, technology should not overwhelm people with stress and worry, instead empower us with the right information at the right time.