Moral Panic through the Lens of Twitter: An Analysis of Infectious Disease Outbreaks

Wasim Ahmed, Peter A Bath, Laura Sbaffi, Gianluca Demaerini

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

    13 Citations (Scopus)
    11 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    This paper presents an in-depth qualitative analysis of n=13,373 tweets that relate to the peak of the Swine Flu outbreak of 2009, and the Ebola outbreak of 2014. Tweets were analysed using thematic analysis and a number of themes and sub-themes were identified. The results were brought together in an abstraction phase and the commonalities between the cases were studied. An interesting similarity which emerged was the rate at which Twitter users expressed intense fear and panic akin to that of the sociological concept of “moral panic”. Moreover, a number of discussions were found to emerge which were not reported in previous literature. Our study is the largest in-depth analysis of tweets on infectious diseases. Our results will inform public health strategies for future infectious disease outbreaks. Future work will seek to conduct further comparisons and explore relevant health theory.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationSMSociety '18 Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Social Media and Society
    PublisherACM
    Pages217-221
    ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4503-6334-1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 19 Jul 2018
    Event9th International Conference on Social Media & Society - Copenhagen, Denmark
    Duration: 18 Jul 201820 Jul 2018
    http://socialmediaandsociety.org/

    Conference

    Conference9th International Conference on Social Media & Society
    Country/TerritoryDenmark
    CityCopenhagen
    Period18/07/1820/07/18
    Internet address

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