Engagement of government social media on facebook during the COVID-19 pandemic in Macao

Patrick Cheong Iao Pang, Qixin Cai, Wenjing Jiang, Kin Sun Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Government social media is widely used for providing updates to and engaging with the public in the COVID-19 pandemic. While Facebook is one of the popular social media used by governments, there is only a scant of research on this platform. This paper aims to understand how government social media should be used and how its engagement changes in prodromal, acute and chronic stages of the pandemic. We collected 1664 posts and 10,805 comments from the Facebook pages of the Macao government from 1 January to 31 October 2020. Using word frequency and content analysis, the results suggest that the engagement was relatively low at the beginning and then surged in the acute stage, with a decreasing trend in the chronic stage. Information about public health measures maintained their engagement in all stages, whereas the engagement of other information was dropping over time. Government social media can be used for increasing vigilance and awareness in the prodromal stage; disseminating information and increasing transparency in the acute stage; and focusing on mental health support and recovery policies in the chronic stage. Additionally, it can be a tool for controlling rumors, providing regular updates and fostering community cohesion in public health crises.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3508
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • Communication
  • Content analysis
  • Engagement
  • Facebook
  • Government
  • Macao
  • Social media


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