A Sentiment Analysis of the 2014-15 Ebola Outbreak in the Media and Social Media

Blooma John, Bob Baulch, Nilmini Wickramasinghe

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookChapterpeer-review


The negative and unbalanced nature of media and social media coverage has amplified anxieties and fears about the Ebola outbreak. The authors analyse news articles on the Ebola outbreak from two leading news outlets, together with comments on the articles from a well-known social media platform, from March 2014 to July 2015. The volume of news articles was greatest between August 2014 and January 2015, with a spike in October 2014, and was driven by the few cases of transmission in Europe and the USA. Sentiment analysis reveals coverage and commentary on the small number of Ebola cases in Europe and the USA were much more extensive than coverage and commentary on the outbreak in West Africa. Articles expressing negative sentiments were more common in the USA and also received more comments than those expressing positive sentiments. The negative sentiments expressed in the media and social media amplified fears about an Ebola outbreak outside West Africa, which increased pressure for unwarranted and wasteful precautionary measures.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Research on Optimizing Healthcare Management Techniques
EditorsNilmini Wickramasinghe
Place of PublicationUnited States
PublisherIGI Global
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781799813729
ISBN (Print)9781799813712
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020


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