• 1 Centre for Research in Media and Communication, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Malaysia
J Med Internet Res, 2021 08 09;23(8):e28249.
PMID: 34280116 DOI: 10.2196/28249


BACKGROUND: One of the successful measures to curb COVID-19 spread in large populations is the implementation of a movement restriction order. Globally, it was observed that countries implementing strict movement control were more successful in controlling the spread of the virus as compared with those with less stringent measures. Society's adherence to the movement control order has helped expedite the process to flatten the pandemic curve as seen in countries such as China and Malaysia. At the same time, there are countries facing challenges with society's nonconformity toward movement restriction orders due to various claims such as human rights violations as well as sociocultural and economic issues. In Indonesia, society's adherence to its large-scale social restrictions (LSSRs) order is also a challenge to achieve. Indonesia is regarded as among the worst in Southeast Asian countries in terms of managing the spread of COVID-19. It is proven by the increased number of daily confirmed cases and the total number of deaths, which was more than 6.21% (1351/21,745) of total active cases as of May 2020.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to explore public sentiments and emotions toward the LSSR and identify issues, fear, and reluctance to observe this restriction among the Indonesian public.

METHODS: This study adopts a sentiment analysis method with a supervised machine learning approach on COVID-19-related posts on selected media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube). The analysis was also performed on COVID-19-related news contained in more than 500 online news platforms recognized by the Indonesian Press Council. Social media posts and news originating from Indonesian online media between March 31 and May 31, 2020, were analyzed. Emotion analysis on Twitter platform was also performed to identify collective public emotions toward the LSSR.

RESULTS: The study found that positive sentiment surpasses other sentiment categories by 51.84% (n=1,002,947) of the total data (N=1,934,596) collected via the search engine. Negative sentiment was recorded at 35.51% (686,892/1,934,596) and neutral sentiment at 12.65% (244,757/1,934,596). The analysis of Twitter posts also showed that the majority of public have the emotion of "trust" toward the LSSR.

CONCLUSIONS: Public sentiment toward the LSSR appeared to be positive despite doubts on government consistency in executing the LSSR. The emotion analysis also concluded that the majority of people believe in LSSR as the best method to break the chain of COVID-19 transmission. Overall, Indonesians showed trust and expressed hope toward the government's ability to manage this current global health crisis and win against COVID-19.

* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.