Information under lockdown: A content analysis of government communication strategies on Facebook during the COVID-19 outbreak

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Abstract

The aim of this study is to investigate how central government agencies used social media to communicate and disseminate information to the public during the Coronavirus outbreak. In addition, this study seeks to examine the characteristics of the messages, content, and engagement rates of the information which has been published by the four central government bodies responsible for the management of the emerging crisis in Israel. This article is based on content analysis to examine the work of four main government ministries on Facebook (Ministry of Health, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Finance) throughout the first six months of the crisis from February to July 2020. Findings indicate that The Ministry of Health's posts yielded the highest engagement rates compared to the rest of the ministries. Also, we categorized the posts into four main categories: Policy, Advocacy & COVID-19 additional information, Restrictions, Guidelines & Recommendations. In terms of Sentiment analysis, posts containing restrictions have created the highest emotional reactions (positive and negative). Research findings can be deduced regarding modes of distribution in terms of messages, publication dates, and types of content to improve users' responses in terms of audience engagement and sentiment.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere15562
JournalHeliyon
Volume9
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Content analysis
  • Facebook
  • Government information
  • Social media

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