Celebrity over science? An analysis of Lyme disease video content on YouTube Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Lyme disease has been a subject of medical controversy for several decades. In this study we looked at the availability and type of content represented in a (n = 700) selection of YouTube videos on the subject of Lyme disease. We classified video content into a small number of content areas, and studied the relationship between these content areas and 1) video views and 2) video likeability. We found very little content uploaded by government or academic institutions; the vast majority of content was uploaded by independent users. The most viewed videos tend to contain celebrity content and personal stories; videos with prevention information tend to be of less interest, and videos with science and medical information tend to be less liked. Our results suggest that important public health information on YouTube is very likely to be ignored unless it is made more appealing to modern consumers of online video content.

publication date

  • October 2017