Mobile-based social media play an important role in the dissemination of information during public health emergencies.
This study aimed to analyze the contents and trends of public messages posted on Telegram during Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
A content analysis of the 1781 messages, posted in a public Telegram channel with more than one million subscribers performed over 9-weeks. The messages were categorized into seven categories.
In total, 39% (n=703) of all messages were related to COVID-19. With the official confirmation of the case of COVID-19 in Iran, the number of COVID-related massages started to rise. Overall, the most frequent messages were of joke and humor (n=292, 41.5%), followed by educational messages (n=140, 19.9%).
Our study showed that the most popular messages during first weeks of COVID pandemic were satirical, indicating that people may not had taken the risks of this pandemic seriously. It is crucial for health organizations to develop strategies for dissemination of reliable health information through social media.
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