The ubiquity of pessimistic information about COVID-19 and its associated mortality rates in social media news sources has exacerbated the risks of mental health problems. Resorting to social networks in times of anxiety is common. And while using platforms such as Facebook, for example, users may find temporary relief from their negative emotions, it is known that any positive aspect associated with the use of social networks is related to addictive behaviors. Social networks are a difficult case in which uncontrolled information about health can spread rapidly.
Fake medical news can cause fear and panic in people, in many cases completely unfounded, says Professor Jakab. It advises the general public to accept official statements only from epidemiological and public health authorities and from national or international research institutes, and calls for legal action to be taken against unreliable sources. Health purposes include health-related objectives, such as health promotion, medical services and administration, health research, medical education and training, and health-related social movements.