YouTube as a Source of Information on the COVID-19 Pandemic


Graduate Medical Education

Document Type


Publication Title

Journal of Community Hospital Internal Medicine Perspectives


Introduction: YouTube is a popular website where public can access and gain information from videos related to COVID-19. This paper seeks to assess the quality and validity of information available on YouTube, based on the current Center for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. Methods: We identified the 250 most-viewed videos from 1 January 2020 to 12 May 2020 on YouTube using keyword 'COVID 19'. Two independent reviewers analyzed the English-language videos as useful, misleading, or news updates. Result: After excluding non-English and irrelevant videos, 100 videos were analyzed. Forty-four videos were classified as useful, 33 videos were classified as news updates, and 23 videos were classified as misleading. Independent users had five times increased odds of posting misleading videos (40% vs. 12%, OR = 5.05, 95% CI = 1.84-13.9, P = 0.001), whereas news agencies have 2.8 greater odds of posting useful or update videos (87% vs 44%, OR = 2.85, 95% CI = 0.959-8.45, P = 0.087). Conclusion: YouTube is an increasingly important source of medical information during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the videos were useful, however due to the public nature of the platform, misleading information may also be easily disseminated. Independent users are more likely to post-misleading videos.



Publication Date