Une exploration des messages Twitter émis par les gouvernements en temps de COVID-19

Authors: Kada, Amine
Advisor: Mellouli, Sehl
Abstract: Governments are increasingly turning to social media platforms such as Twitter to disseminate public health information to the public, as evidenced during the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of this paper is to gain a better understanding of Canadian government and public health officials' use of Twitter as a dissemination platform during the pandemic, and to explore the public's engagement with and sentiment towards these messages. We examined the account data of 93 Canadian public health and government officials during the first wave of the pandemic (December 31, 2019 – August 31, 2020). Our objectives were to: 1) determine the engagement rates of the public with Canadian federal and provincial/territorial governments and public health officials' Twitter posts, 2) illustrate the evolution of the Canadian public discourse during the pandemic's first wave by a hashtag trends and 3) provide insights on the public's reaction to the Canadian authorities' tweets through sentiment analysis. To address these objectives, we extracted Twitter posts, replies and associated metadata available during the study period in both English and French. Our results suggest members of the public demonstrated increased engagement with federal officials' Twitter accounts as compared to provincial/territorial Twitter accounts. Hashtag trends analyses illustrated the topic shift in the Canadian public discourse, which initially focused on COVID-19 mitigation strategies and evolved to address emerging issues such as COVID-19 mental health effects. Additionally, we identified 11 sentiments in response to officials' COVID-19 related posts. This study illustrates the potential to leverage social media to understand public discourse during a pandemic. We suggest that routine analyses of such data can provide real-time recommendations to government and public health officials on public sentiments during a public health emergency and can provide useful insights on the accounts/actors with which members of the public are most engaged, which can be leveraged to disseminate key messages.
Document Type: Mémoire de maîtrise
Issue Date: 2021
Open Access Date: 13 September 2021
Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11794/70311
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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