JMIR Infodemiology

Focusing on determinants and distribution of health information and misinformation on the internet, and its effect on public and individual health.

Editor-in-Chief:

Tim Ken Mackey, MAS, PhD, Professor, University of California San Diego; Director, Healthcare Research & Policy, University of California San Diego - Extension; Director, Global Health Policy and Data Institute


JMIR Infodemiology (JI, ISSN 2564-1891, Editor-in-Chief: Tim Ken Mackey) is a new journal (launched in 2021) focusing on determinants and distribution of health information and misinformation on the internet, and its effect on public and individual health; a new scientific discipline that has has been called "Infodemiology" in 2002, and which has been gaining momentum in the COVID-19 related infodemic in 2020, with WHO recognizing this as an important pillar to manage public health emergencies. JMIR Publications is proud to have been spearheading the advancement of this new scientific discipline for the past decade or more, and is now accelerating the development of this new interdisciplinary discipline with the first and only journal devoted to this rapidly evolving field, by bringing together thought leaders in research and policy. Areas of interest include information monitoring (infoveillance, including social listening); ehealth literacy and science literacy; knowledge refinement and quality improvement processes and policies; and the influence of political and commercial interests on effective knowledge translation. 

Recent Articles

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Infoveillance and Social Listening

As direct-to-consumer genetic testing services have grown in popularity, the public has increasingly relied upon online forums to discuss and share their test results. Initially, users did so anonymously, but more recently, they have included face images when discussing their results. Various studies have shown that sharing images on social media tends to elicit more replies. However, users who do this forgo their privacy. When these images truthfully represent a user, they have the potential to disclose that user’s identity.

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Vaccination Sentiment and Anti-Vaccination Infodemiology

The COVID-19 pandemic has been occurring concurrently with an infodemic of misinformation about the virus. Spreading primarily on social media, there has been a significant academic effort to understand the English side of this infodemic. However, much less attention has been paid to the Arabic side.

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Infoveillance and Social Listening

Electronic nicotine delivery systems (known as electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes) increase risk for adverse health outcomes among naïve tobacco users, particularly youth and young adults. This vulnerable population is also at risk for exposed brand marketing and advertisement of e-cigarettes on social media. Understanding predictors of how e-cigarette manufacturers conduct social media advertising and marketing could benefit public health approaches to addressing e-cigarette use.

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Infoveillance and Social Listening

Internet search volume for medical information, as tracked by Google Trends, has been used to demonstrate unexpected seasonality in the symptom burden of a variety of medical conditions. However, when more technical medical language is used (eg, diagnoses), we believe that this technique is confounded by the cyclic, school year–driven internet search patterns of health care students.

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Infodemic Management

Infodemic management is an integral part of pandemic management. Ghana Health Services (GHS) together with the UNICEF (United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund) Country Office have developed a systematic process that effectively identifies, analyzes, and responds to COVID-19 and vaccine-related misinformation in Ghana.

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Infoveillance and Social Listening

Social listening, the process of monitoring and analyzing conversations to inform communication activities, is an essential component of infodemic management. It helps inform context-specific communication strategies that are culturally acceptable and appropriate for various subpopulations. Social listening is based on the notion that target audiences themselves can best define their own information needs and messages.

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Infodemic Management

Since COVID-19 vaccines became broadly available to the adult population, sharp divergences in uptake have emerged along partisan lines. Researchers have indicated a polarized social media presence contributing to the spread of mis- or disinformation as being responsible for these growing partisan gaps in uptake.

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Infodemic Management

Messages on one’s stance toward vaccination on microblogging sites may affect the reader’s decision on whether to receive a vaccine. Understanding the dissemination of provaccine and antivaccine messages relating to COVID-19 on social media is crucial; however, studies on this topic have remained limited.

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Infoveillance and Social Listening

Largely absent from research on how users appraise the credibility of professionals as sources for the information they find on social media is work investigating factors shaping credibility within a specific profession, such as physicians.

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Health and Risk Communication

Skin cancer is among the deadliest forms of cancer in the United States. The American Cancer Society reported that 3 million skin cancer cases could be avoided every year if individuals are more aware of the risk factors related to sun exposure and prevention. Social media platforms may serve as potential intervention modalities that can be used to raise public awareness of several diseases and health conditions, including skin cancer. Social media platforms are efficient, cost-effective tools for health-related content that can reach a broad number of individuals who are already using these spaces in their day-to-day personal lives. Instagram was launched in 2010, and it is now used by 1 billion users, of which 90% are under the age of 35 years. Despite previous research highlighting the potential of image-based platforms in skin cancer prevention and leveraging Instagram’s popularity among the priority population to raise awareness, there is still a lack of studies describing skin cancer–related content on Instagram.

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Health and Risk Communication

Synthetic cannabinoids are a significant public health concern, especially among incarcerated populations due to increased reports of abuse. Recent news reports have highlighted the severe consequences of K2/Spice, a synthetic cannabinoid, among the prison population in the United States. Despite regulations against cell phone use, inmates use TikTok to post K2/Spice-related content.

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Infoveillance and Social Listening

The risk of infection and severity of illness by SARS-CoV-2 infection is elevated for people who smoke cigarettes and may motivate quitting. Organic public conversations on Twitter about quitting smoking could provide insight into quitting motivations or behaviors associated with the pandemic.

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