Timing is everything. When the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, researchers at the University of California San Diego, already examining the diffusion of pseudoscience and (mis)information related to breastfeeding, were able to capture these key findings from Twitter:
• The vast majority of tweets reflected current scientific guidance, updates from researchers about ongoing COVID-19 studies, as well as community engagement and breastfeeding advocacy to support clinicians and families
• Out of 880 tweets, 6% of tweets contained scientifically unfounded recommendations and tweets for commercial use (e.g. promoting brands of breast pumps and feeding bottles).
Further details are in this open access article published by Maternal & Child Nutrition, supported in part by the Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation: ‘Distance, Diffusion, and the Role of Social Media in a Time of COVID Contagion’.
“In these difficult times when health misinformation may overwhelm the health care system and cause death, it is heartening we found evidence of accurate information diffusion that supports the health of mothers and infants,” writes lead author, Dr. Sara Moukarzel, from the Department of Education Studies and the Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation Mother-Milk-Infant Center of Research Excellence at the University of California San Diego.