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09 Sep, 2020
How Tricky Is To Use Social Media As Search Engines During The Epidemic

Social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, etc. have become a daily or hourly need of ours. Though it helps us connect with people and the world, there is no doubt that social media has been a station of spreading misinformation among people, especially during the COVID-19 outbreak. With so much happening in the world due to the new virus, people were keen to understand its nature (symptoms, treatment, testing, etc.).

How our cognizance or behavior got impacted during the pandemic?

With fear and an anxious mind, people were spending most of their time watching the news and surfing the internet, mainly Facebook and Instagram.

Moreover, people were blindly sharing treatment suggestions on their Facebook wall, with no evil intention. Hence, these unverified social media posts have given birth to countless invulnerable notions. For instance, in the initial phase of the pandemic, posts like sitting in sunlight, alcohol usage, drinking garlic and ginger water, etc. were putting people in dubiety. People were confused and uncertain about the novel coronavirus.

Corona, Corona, Corona! The virus has become a global concern; a hysteria. Due to the immeasurable effects, people are using internet search engines and social media to acquire knowledge to ward off the virus and keep themselves safe. People are ready to do anything and everything to fight against the infection, including following void suggestions.

Social media used for research:

The advanced technology has immensely helped individuals to spread awareness and stay secure. On the other hand, it has put people in a deep dark tunnel of doubts and dilemmas. People are searching about the infection on Facebook and other social media channels which often leads them to void information.

We need to understand that studying sensitive topics on social media is not the primary purpose of the interface. The core objective behind using these networks is to find people and stay connected with various communities.

Social media algorithm:

There is a difference between people's interests and the correct result or solution of any complication or crisis.

The social media algorithm works based on the user's feed, contacts, and searched history. For instance, if we search “Corona Virus” on Instagram, it will land us to people with similar usernames or posts with the hashtags related to coronavirus. Basically, the social media search displays top posts, accounts, tags, and places. Hence, resolution for a specific keyword would depend on users' personal interest.

Credible information:

YouTube is the second most used search engine platform after Google. Individuals use the platform to improve their skills and efficiency. The videos are rich in facilitating people with various hacks, tips, tutorials, etc. However, we need to discern its functions and utilize the same accordingly. For instance, YouTube helps with finding “How to make masks to prevent infection transition” but it cannot help with “How to make a vaccine of COVID-19”, we need to understand the difference!

Also, the newly added search result feature on Instagram during the pandemic is appreciable. Currently, if anyone searches on Instagram related to COVID-19 (coronavirus or vaccine), it suggests in the header to visit who.int, followed by users and top results.

We need to understand the essence of various social media channels, especially their roles in helping people. Moreover, we need to carefully check and cross-check the authenticity of any finding or result, which we acquire from these online platforms, before sharing them with others or posting them on our walls.

ISOEH (Indian school of ethical hacking) is a BSI certified group. We are specialized in White-hat hacking with 10+ years of experience in information security. We help individuals in machine learning using python, ccna training, cyber security and diverse online courses.

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