Owerri Residents’ Perception of the Transmission of Information via Social Media during COVID-19
The researchers sought to examine Imo residents’ perception of social media information dissemination amidst COVID-19 pandemic era. The technological determinism theory was adopted as the theoretical framework for the study. The survey research design was employed. Population of the study comprised 555,500 residents in Owerri metropolis. The Wimmer & Dominick sample size calculator was used to derive 384 as the sample size. Questionnaire was used as the instrument for data collection and the multistage sampling technique was adopted. Findings revealed that at an average of 56% respondents believed that social media has played significant role in the information overload experienced during the peak of the pandemic. Not only that, but the social media information were not fact checked before dissemination and this resulted to spread of fake news and misinformation. Further findings revealed that at an average of 53% respondents confirmed that to large extent social media information and dissemination on COVID-19 influenced Imo residents’ behaviour towards practicing COVID-19 guidelines such as hand washing among others. It was recommended that, the fact social media users enjoy lots of freedom, give them the opportunity to use it to spread all sorts of information which sometimes are fake. To curb this trend, fact checker should be made available on all social media handles so as to minimise the spread of misinformation.