Going Viral - Social Media And The Coronavirus [Radio Wales]

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As Coronavirus fundamentally changes the way we live our lives in 2020, technology writer Jason Smith reflects on the role social media has played in bonding us together when all else was stripped away.

Social media has been accused of being a channel for quite poisonous discord in society. It’s been at the centre of data scandals and geopolitical interference. But, as Jason explores, its ability to connect people and give communities a voice during the Covid-19 pandemic has given it a new lease of life.

People have flocked to platforms for entertainment and togetherness. Facebook usage is up over 35%. WhatsApp by 40%. Zoom by 2000%. TikTok is now the world’s most downloaded app. Some people are switching their primary source of income to online communities like Second Life.

But Coronavirus has exposed many of social media’s weaknesses too. Ofcom found that over 50% of the people it surveyed had come across false and misleading information during the pandemic. If you want a conspiracy theory about Covid-19, it seems you need to look no further.

Jason speaks to experts on either side of the Atlantic to help him understand this and social media’s wider role during the pandemic.

Going Viral - Social Media and the Coronavirus is a Bengo Media Production.

Jason Smith investigates whether Covid-19 has given social media platforms a new purpose.

Jason Smith investigates whether Covid-19 has given social media platforms a new purpose.