Abstract| Volume 50, ISSUE 7, SUPPLEMENT , S104-S105, July 2018

Misinforming Arabs with Facebook in Mind: A Mixed-Methods Approach

      Background (Background, Rationale, Prior Research, and/or Theory): Facebook is the most popular social media platform in the world and the Middle East region alike. Empirical evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates the role of Facebook in propagating misinformation in several domains. Yet, no research has been done to investigate the phenomenon of Facebook use and nutrition misinformation among Arabs.
      Objective: The purpose of this study is twofold: to explore the phenomenon of Facebook use and nutrition misinformation among Arabs who use Facebook, and to understand the relationship between Facebook use and exposure to nutrition misinformation among Arabs.
      Study Design, Setting, Participants, Intervention: The study is a mixed method approach. During Summer 2017, we conducted individual semi-structured interviews using Facebook Messenger with 20 volunteer participants until saturation was reached. We have also performed a cross-sectional survey with 300 respondents (n = 153 English and n = 147 Arabic).
      Outcome Measures and Analysis: Emergent themes show that Facebook use appears to influence older female Arab adults who push certain food choices on their children as a result. Facebook provides a platform for unhealthy food advertising and inaccurate information sharing, and is a primer of intake of certain food items and mixes. A difference in the demographic profile is noted between participants who chose to respond to the survey in English over Arabic. While the majority were female (at least 80% and above), those who answered in English were 58% millennials, 60% university graduates, 58% married, and 69% employed compared to those who answered in Arabic: 34% Generation X, 29% millennials, 49% university graduates, 51% married, and 51% unemployed.
      Results: Results of linear regression primarily show that the average F scores statistically significantly predicted Exposure to Nutrition Misinformation (EtNM) scores, F (1,74) = 11.338, P = .001, accounting for 13.3% of the variation in EtNM score with adjusted R2 = 12.1%. Increase in F score leads to 0.273 EtNM score, 95% CI [0.111, 0.434] increase in EtNM score.
      Conclusions and Impolications: We conclude that exposure to nutrition misinformation is related to Facebook use. Future interventions to correct for nutrition misinformation on Facebook is warranted.
      Funding: None.