User experience with tobacco products.
Publicly accessible data from those who post to social media platforms, like Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, YouTube, among others, can be used to rapidly capture and describe health-related attitudes and behaviors. As such, SOMA Lab has numerous projects focused on understanding user experiences with new tobacco products (JUUL, KandyPens) to understand their appeal, and the social and environmental characteristics surrounding their use.
Online marketing and promotional activities.
Data pulled from social media platforms, allows for the rapid monitoring and examination of marketing and promotional activities of companies and services that may influence health behaviors, ultimately impacting public health. As such, SOMA Lab has numerous projects aimed at identifying, quantifying, and describing promotional practices of companies across various industries.
Social bots and unsubstantiated health claims.
Social bots (automated accounts that use artificial intelligence to steer discussions and promote specific ideas or products) have been found to spread unsubstantiated health claims on Twitter, and other social media platforms. For example, in 2017, Jon-Patrick Allem and colleagues were the first to demonstrate that social bots were more than two times as likely to make claims about the effectiveness of electronic cigarettes in smoking cessation compared to non-bots. Unsubstantiated health claims perpetuated by social bots may have offline consequences. As such, SOMA Lab has numerous projects examining the spread of misinformation in a number of health-related domains, including tobacco and cannabis use.