Coronavirus (763) BBC: Social media spreading virus conspiracy theories (2)

20 June, 2020

The full text of the article is available as Open Access here [*see note below]


Dr. Farooq Azam Rathore MBBS, FCPS, OJT (USA), MSc (Pain Medicine)

Consultant and Head of Department

Department of Rehabilitation Medicine

PNS Shifa Hospital, DHA II, Karachi , Pakistan

Assistant Professor

Bahria University Medical and Dental College, Karachi

Executive Board Member and National Representative

Asia-Oceanian Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine

Executive Board Member and LMIC Representative

Cochrane Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Centre "E. Spalenza-Don Gnocchi, Italy

Office +92-21-48506605

Cell +92-312-9549821

Appointment +92-3200-400675

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HIFA profile: Farooq Rathore, is a consultant and assistant professor in Rehabilitation Medicine at the CMH Lahore Medical College, Lahore , Pakistan. His interests include spinal cord injury rehabilitation, stroke rehabilitation, amputee management, pediatric rehabilitation and improving rehabilitation services in low resourced regions of the world. He is country coordinator /representative of , International Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation , Asia-Oceanian Conference of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine , Asian Spinal Cord Injury Network and International Rehabilitation Forum . Other professionals associations include Medical Research Society of Pakistan, National Academy of Young Scientists and Pakistan Society of Rheumatology. More information on research interests and current research activities is available from farooqrathore AT

[*Note from HIFA moderator (Neil PW): Many thanks Dr Farooq. For the benefit of those who may not have immediate web access, here are the citation and abstract:

Health-protective behaviour, social media usage and conspiracy belief during the COVID-19 public health emergency

Daniel Allington, Bobby Duffy, Simon Wessely, Nayana Dhavan...

Psychological Medicine 2020

DOI: Published online by Cambridge University Press: 09 June 2020


Background: Social media platforms have long been recognised as major disseminators of health misinformation. Many previous studies have found a negative association between health-protective behaviours and belief in the specific form of misinformation popularly known as ‘conspiracy theory’. Concerns have arisen regarding the spread of COVID-19 conspiracy theories on social media.

Methods: Three questionnaire surveys of social media use, conspiracy beliefs and health-protective behaviours with regard to COVID-19 among UK residents were carried out online, one using a self-selecting sample (N = 949) and two using stratified random samples from a recruited panel (N = 2250, N = 2254).

Results: All three studies found a negative relationship between COVID-19 conspiracy beliefs and COVID-19 health-protective behaviours, and a positive relationship between COVID-19 conspiracy beliefs and use of social media as a source of information about COVID-19. Studies 2 and 3 also found a negative relationship between COVID-19 health-protective behaviours and use of social media as a source of information, and Study 3 found a positive relationship between health-protective behaviours and use of broadcast media as a source of information.

Conclusions: When used as an information source, unregulated social media may present a health risk that is partly but not wholly reducible to their role as disseminators of health-related conspiracy beliefs.]