Zika-virus Related Photo-sharing on Pinterest and Instagram

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Communicating accurate, accessible and actionable information to diverse populations is a key component of emergency responses against the Zika virus outbreak. Public health agencies are engaging the public using fast-growing photo-sharing social media sites such as Pinterest and Instagram. In this cross-sectional study, 616 Pinterest photos (keyword: “zika” AND “virus”; the maximum number of photos that we were able to retrieve via web scraping) and 616 Instagram photos (#zikavirus; randomly selected from 9370 Instagram photos retrieved via Instagram Application Programming Interface) were retrieved on April 3, 2016. Two trained individuals manually coded photos based on their relevance to Zika virus, words embedded, language and their content categories (any category that applies). Among our samples, 47% (290/616) of Pinterest photos and 23% (144/616) of Instagram photos were relevant to Zika virus. Words were embedded in 57% (164/290) of relevant Pinterest photos and 100% (144/144) of relevant Instagram photos. Among the photos with embedded words, more Instagram photos were in Spanish and Portuguese (77/144, 53%) than Pinterest (14/164, 9%) (P<0.0001). There were more Zika virus-related photos on Instagram than on Pinterest containing prevention information (59/144, 41%, versus 41/290, 14%, P<0.0001), issues relevant to effects on pregnancy (27/144, 19%, versus 32/290, 11%, P=0.04) and deaths associated with this infection (4/144, 2%, versus 0/290, 0%, P=0.01). Given the relatively international demographics of Instagram (vis-à-vis Pinterest that is more American), it is reasonable to suggest that Latin American users were more concerned about Zika virus prevention and its impact on pregnancy outcomes. In conclusion, Pinterest and Instagram have similar representation of Zika virus-related photos. Health communicators may use both Pinterest and Instagram as similar platforms to disseminate Zika virus information to the public.


American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Annual Conference


Atlanta, GA