Zika and microcephaly: From the scientific discovery by Fiocruz to the institution’s Facebook
Author: Luís Amorim – Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Brazil
Paloma da Silva Barreto
Marcelo Garcia – Oswaldo Cruz Foundation
The paper analyzed how zika/microcephaly was approached by Fiocruz, the main health research center in Latin America and the first institution to link zika and microcephaly, on its Facebook page. The objectives of this research were to identify the main characteristics of Fiocruz fanpage posts on Facebook that refers to the subject, in relation to its formats and contents addressed. In addition, we intended to understand how was the interaction between the public and Fiocruz; how the rumors about the epidemic were addressed by the institution and how science has been portrayed throughout the posts. A total of 132 posts, published between May 2015 and May 2016, the period of higher impact and relevance of the zika theme, were analyzed. All these posts were examined by quantitative analysis considering four dimensions: frequency, thematic, format and engagement; and the five posts with more engagement were analyzed qualitatively. The study concluded that Fiocruz’s page dedicated an expressive space to the topic zika/microcephaly, prioritizing approaches with a scientific and political-institutional approach. There was also an effort to dialogue with a varied audience, with a multi-topic approach. The posts with the highest engagement were focused on scientific dissemination and target an audience beyond professional and academic ties. Among them, the posts about rumors were the ones that most motivated audience interaction, demonstrating great interest in the topic and the search for reliable sources of information. There was also a low frequency of response to comments by Fiocruz. Regarding the formats of the publications, the research concluded that there were little experimentation and variation in the approach of the subject. Together, these two findings indicate the lack of use of important social networking potentials, which could be even more important in an epidemic situation marked by considerable uncertainty and fear as that of zika.
Presentation type: Individual paper
Area of interest: Investigating science communication practices