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The California Department of Health statistics showed a 13% increase in gonorrhea rates and an 18% increase in syphilis rates from 2012 to 2013.There are health officials who believe that social networking sites like Facebook make it easier for individuals to meet, get to know each other, and have casual sex leading to STDs, while others believe that social media is not responsible for the increase in STDs (Berr 2010).For example, suppose that, for the state of Oregon, 12 percent of its total Google searches in 2013 were for the search term ‘Zoosk’.Also suppose that the state of Arizona had the highest percent of total Google searches in 2013 for ‘Zoosk’ at 16%.
Furthermore, dating sites and apps are constantly being developed to target a specific market.
Thus the resulting ‘search volume index’ for Arizona for ‘Zoosk’ in 2013 would be 100. According to Rudder (2014), Google Trends search indexes have been used by many professionals and scientists to track items such as stock prices, economic activity, and the spread of disease.
Once a disease starts to spread, people engage in Google searches for symptoms and cures.
The Department of Health attributed these increases in part, to the increased use of social media and the casual encounters they engendered.
Whitman (2015) also stated that outbreaks of syphilis in New Zealand in 2012 and syphilis and gonorrhea in the United Kingdom were thought to be related to the app ‘Grindr’ and other similar apps.