Demographic representation of COVID-19 social media and information engagement in Nigeria

Winifred Ekezie*, Genevieve Bosah

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


INTRODUCTION Disease outbreaks affect demographic groups differently, as evident with the COVID-19 pandemic. Public health communication during these periods, especially on social media, aims to encourage individuals to improve their health by practicing healthy behaviors. However, the management of the COVID-19 pandemic has been significantly influenced by misinformation. This study aimed to understand how selected demographic factors in Nigeria influenced engagement with COVID-19 pandemic information on social media. METHODS A cross-sectional survey was conducted in June 2020. Data on demography, information source and media consumption patterns, and information accuracy and responsibility were collected through snowballing technique and promotions through emails and social networking sites. RESULTS A total of 1127 respondents participated, 59% male, 85% aged 18–45 years, and 92.1% had an undergraduate degree or above. Most participants used social media, especially Twitter (39.4%). About 93.1% received misinformation about COVID-19, 82.9% believed social media were the primary source of inaccurate information, while 59.7% took action to verify the accuracy of the information received on protection. Most preferred Twitter, while older people preferred WhatsApp, and those with the highest education used both platforms evenly. Younger people considered international organizations most responsible for information accuracy but also highlighted individuals were also responsible. CONCLUSIONS Similar perceptions and engagement with COVID-19 pandemic information were observed across different demographic groups in Nigeria, with all groups relying significantly on social media. To ensure the availability of accurate information and appropriate responses to COVID-19 management, more meaningful social media engagement is required to reduce the risk of harmful misinformation, particularly related to vaccination.

Original languageEnglish
Article number18
JournalPopulation Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2021. Ekezie W. and Bosah G. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial 4.0 International License. (


  • Communication
  • COVID-19
  • Information
  • Nigeria
  • Social media
  • Vaccine


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