The Influence of Social Media on Public Health Messaging During Pandemics: A Systematic Literature Review

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Sana Suhail
Sadaf Iqbal


This systematic literature review explored the dual role of social media in enhancing and complicating public health messaging during pandemics. Analyzing 237 studies, the review found that social media platforms significantly expedited the dissemination of health information, with public compliance increasing from 40% to 70% following social media interventions. However, these platforms also facilitated the rapid spread of misinformation, with up to 80% of the studies reporting high occurrences of false information. Effective counterstrategies, including partnerships with health organizations and media literacy campaigns, were crucial yet variably successful in mitigating misinformation. The review underscores the potential of social media as a powerful tool for public health if harnessed correctly, though it also highlights the persistent challenges posed by misinformation. Limitations of the review include its focus on English-language studies and the exclusion of grey literature, which may affect the generalizability of findings. Future research should address these gaps by incorporating multi-lingual and diverse geographical contexts to better understand the global impact of social media on public health messaging.

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Author Biographies

Sana Suhail, Children Complex Hospital, Rahim Yar Khan Pakistan

Consultant Physiotherapist, Children Complex Hospital, Rahim Yar Khan Pakistan

Sadaf Iqbal, Royal London Hospital, Barts Health, UK.

Royal London Hospital, Barts Health, UK.