YouTube viewer’s comments on the opioid epidemic coverage by CNN and fox news

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Approximately 34.3 million people used prescription opioids for non-medical reasons globally in 2016. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 76% of overdose deaths are caused by prescription and non-prescription opioids. While governments often attempt to steer discussions of issues related to health crises and health policy, social media and YouTube play an increasingly important role in shaping such discussions. Randolph-Krisova reported that videos related to the opioid epidemic uploaded during 2015-2017 to YouTube by U.S. television news and entertainment channels – CNN, Fox News and such – were viewed most often (53.57%, 23,943,577). Multi-stakeholder deliberation is essential to civic engagement and an integral part of the government healthcare policy-making process. Social media is capable of offering large-scale deliberation platforms for efficient, accessible, and open discussions of the opioid epidemic. Specifically, the members of the public can be exposed to different views, refine their position on complex health policy issues, learn to balance their healthcare needs with those of the community, and inform government policy makers, thus helping them set healthcare policies reflective of the society’s perspectives. At the same time, a discussion of politically and personally sensitive health issues in social media can be a messy social process, where social actors exercise their gatekeeping power and create a drowning effect by shaping the discussion in ways that make it depart from the original topic. This research analysed 8,761 comments posted by the viewers of the most watched videos on the opioid epidemic uploaded by CNN and Fox News to their official YouTube Channels in 2017 and 2018.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 7th European Conference on Social Media, ECSM 2020
EditorsChristos Karpasitis, Christiana Varda
PublisherAcademic Conferences International 
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781912764631
StatePublished - 2020
Event7th European Conference on Social Media, ECSM 2020 - Larnaca, Cyprus
Duration: Jul 2 2020Jul 3 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 7th European Conference on Social Media, ECSM 2020


Conference7th European Conference on Social Media, ECSM 2020


  • Drowning
  • Gatekeeping
  • Government policy
  • Opioid epidemic
  • Social media


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