The coronavirus pandemic has forced millions of people across the US and the world to stay indoors and avoid going out unless necessary, even to gather for special occasions, in fear that COVID-19 will spread faster and infect more people. With it comes the influx of social media users who have become more active during the quarantine.
Coronavirus has become more than just a topic for reports--it has taken over our minds and most of all, our screens and social media feed.
More People are Using Social Media Platforms
According to a Global Web Index survey, a quarter of Facebook and Twitter users from the US and UK are reported to have increased their use of these social media platforms over the past few weeks.
Without warning, social media has evolved in the face of the pandemic.
As Business Insider puts it, social media has brought out humanity's "best and worst impulses" as users are either using their social media to encourage people to stay at home and believe the threats of COVID-19, or are spreading misinformation, conspiracy theories, and blatantly racist posts.
Nevertheless, here are the current changes everyone has likely seen on various social media platforms.
Facebook and WhatsApp
Facebook has been struggling to keep disinformation about, especially after the reputation it earned after the scandal with Cambridge Analytica last 2018.
Nevertheless, there are still tons of fake news spreading through the social media platform, including conspiracy theories about coronavirus, with even one correspondent by a Business Insider survey saying they have fallen out with a family member after they have shared a post regarding coronavirus being a hoax.
To avoid the spread of disinformation in the platform, Facebook has promised to create a "coronavirus information center" where people can gather information from reliable sources including the World Health Organization (WHO) and CDC.
Besides Facebook, WhatsApp is also facing a similar problem, and people are not happy about the way they handle the spread of misinformation on the platform, but more people use it now as it makes connecting easier, especially channels that cover local businesses and regions.
However, many influencers are using their reach on Facebook to promote small businesses that need help as well as charities, so it's not all bad.
Additionally, there has been quite an influx of good and lighthearted contents, including memes and tons of viral videos.
Instagram has been taken over by celebrities, where they are most active.
Most celebrities were able to use the platform to encourage their fans to stay home amid the coronavirus pandemic. However, some have faced backlash after "insensitive" comments about the outbreak, including former High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens.
There's also a massive change with Instagram Stories, according to users.
Apparently, it's either about showing off their work-from-home stations, images, and videos of cats and dogs, as well as empty shelves from groceries.
There are also tons of "throwback" pictures as everyone is unable to go out during this time.
Twitter has always been a platform where everybody can say anything they want, and now it's a tiring place to be, especially with various political debates and arguments about the coronavirus pandemic.
BuzzFeed reported on the matter, saying there's a rise of "I'm not an epidemiologist but..." posts on Twitter by the rise of a "new class of influencers."
Many big names, including Elon Musk, have also faced scrutiny after reportedly downplaying the pandemic and its severity with his tweets.
Nevertheless, the social media platform has promised that it will remove any coronavirus misinformation--something that is quite rampant on the site.