Stigma-Marking of COVID-19 Patients in Facebook and Twitter of Youth in Malaysia in 2020–2021

Ting, Su Hie and Mohamad Heakal, Shamsul (2022) Stigma-Marking of COVID-19 Patients in Facebook and Twitter of Youth in Malaysia in 2020–2021. Youth, 2 (4). pp. 717-732.

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At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the public were still unaware of the disease and its transmission, and information on susceptibility and severity was not well understood. During this time, stigma of COVID-19 patients had led to some people dying in their homes because they did not want to be seen seeking treatment and getting stigmatized in the process. The study examined stigma-marking of COVID-19 patients in Facebook and Twitter messages written by youth in Malaysia. A total of 100 messages were collected from the posts of young people in Twitter (n = 66) and Facebook (n = 34) from March 2020 to April 2021 during the early phase of the pandemic. The social media postings, mostly written in Malay, were analyzed for stigma-markers. The results showed that COVID-19 stigma words were mostly related to health (57%), ethnicity (29%), social class (13%), and work (1%). The frequencies of the types of stigma-marker in Facebook comments and tweets are similar. COVID-19 patients were referred to as stupid, irresponsible, and criminals. Racist remarks were also evident in the social media messages. The findings indicate that people who are already victims of the disease are victimized further due to the stigmatization by strangers and people in their social and work circles.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: COVID-19
Uncontrolled Keywords: COVID-19; stigma; social media; susceptibility; severity; sentiments
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: Academic Faculties, Institutes and Centres > Centre for Language Studies (rebranded to FLSCS in 2015)
Depositing User: Hie
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2022 06:03
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2022 06:03

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