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Sarah Green Carmichael

Maybe Get Off Social Media Now

Panic-scrolling through Covid-19 news on Facebook and Twitter is counterproductive.

A risk of too much information. 

A risk of too much information. 

Photographer: KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images

At first blush, this coronavirus pandemic would seem to be social media’s moment. Social distancing has us stuck in our homes, cut off from family and friends, trying to work, parent or — blessed be — both, and most of all trying to keep up with the avalanche of information coming out every day about Covid-19.

Indeed, Facebook use is surging — the company reports that in Italy time spent across its apps (including WhatsApp and Instagram) is up as much as 70% since the outbreak began there. Twitter has seen an increase in activity, too. I alone am probably worth a few percentage points of that uptick, given how often lately I’ve stared into the blue glow of my iPhone.