Main Article Content
Objective: This study aimed to understand the internet users’ perspectives towards doctors’ and medical students’
Methods: This was a cross-sectional online survey among internet users conducted from December 2015 to March
2016 to understand their perspectives towards doctors’ and medical students’ Facebook use. The author-constructed
questionnaires were in Thai and included the participants’ online activities, their witness to inappropriate Facebook
posts by doctors or medical students in the past month, and 39 mock public Facebook post screenshots. The
participants were asked to rate the appropriateness of each mock post on a 5-point-Likert scale.
Results: Among all participants (n=1,200), 63.4% had searched through Facebook profiles of physicians or medical
students before and 53.7% had seen or heard of inappropriate contents. The characteristics of doctors’ and medical
students’ Facebook posts which were rated as inappropriate or less appropriate by most participants were related
to patients’ privacy, including de-identified patients’ data, substance use behaviours, negative criticism of patients,
colleagues, hospitals or universities, and advertisement of their own private practice.
Conclusion: Doctors and medical students should be aware of the public view towards their social media posts and
be mindful of what they post and the potential negative consequences because they can impact the public image of
medical professions. Considering professionalism guidelines and public’s perspectives may obviate the potential
negative consequences of social media use.
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