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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(9), 1974; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15091974

Strategic Uses of Facebook in Zika Outbreak Communication: Implications for the Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication Model

1
Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 637718, Singapore
2
Division of Psychology, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 637332, Singapore
3
Institute of Communication and Health, Università Della Svizzera Italiana, 6900 Lugano, Switzerland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 August 2018 / Revised: 3 September 2018 / Accepted: 5 September 2018 / Published: 10 September 2018
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Abstract

While social media has been increasingly used for communication of infectious disease outbreaks, little is known about how social media can improve strategic communication across various stages of the health crisis. The Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication Model (Reynolds & Seeger, 2005; CERC) outlines strategies across different crisis phases and can guide crisis communication on social media. This research therefore investigates how social media can be utilized to implement and adapt the CERC model, by examining the strategic uses of Facebook in communicating the recent Zika epidemic by health authorities in Singapore. Zika-related Facebook posts of three main Singapore health agencies published within the one year period from January 2016 to December 2016 were thematically analysed. Results suggest that Facebook was used to communicate the crisis strategically, which supported and added to the CERC model. Novel uses of Facebook for outbreak communication were demonstrated, including promoting public common responsibility for disease prevention and expressing regards to the public for cooperation. Results also suggested that preparedness messages might be the most effective, as they produced a great level of public engagement. The adaptability of the CERC model in social media contexts to improve crisis communication is discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: Zika; CERC; Facebook; social media; outbreak communication; crisis communication; public health Zika; CERC; Facebook; social media; outbreak communication; crisis communication; public health
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Lwin, M.O.; Lu, J.; Sheldenkar, A.; Schulz, P.J. Strategic Uses of Facebook in Zika Outbreak Communication: Implications for the Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication Model. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 1974.

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