Misinformation on medical advice and finding real sources

Scurbs
Deep in thought.

Introduction:

When social media contains misinformation on medical advice, individuals are in danger of believing it. Cancelling the distributors of this information will only ingrain their beliefs. They will create new accounts to spread lies on bad medical information.

The cancel culture solves nothing, so let’s take a look at what that means. Also, what are the moral/ethical obligations from society to protect others?

The conversation:

When we start to have intelligent conversations with ourselves, we become a community. People are entitled to their opinion, but when they start sharing misinformation on medical advice it is doing harm.

We need to start looking after ourselves as well as the system of care, especially on social media. Governments and health care professionals can only do so much to support us. We need to rely on ourselves to take action in spreading correct information from trusted sources.

Having knowledge at our fingertips and being able to identify correct information is key. Factual information is getting beaten by keyboard warriors on social media. They have no idea or don’t care about the harm they are doing to society and individuals.

How much leeway should we give opinions, that are blatant misinformation? Should zero tolerance be it, or take cancel culture approach or give them the benefit of the doubt? Cancel culture shouldn’t be about a once off comment, as we should avoid feeding the culprits in harming others. Starve them of their desires to harm or disrupt.

If they continue spreading misinformation on medical advice on a topic that does harm to others, such as bad medical advice. In overwhelming the misinformation to stifle the culprits. Let’s start acting like adults, we will start making progress in keeping society safe.

How would we as a responsible online community manage misinformation on medical advice when some people can not discern between fact from fiction?

Social Media Listening
Source: who.int

Limiting interaction with them would reduce their exposure, although this would leave the venerable exposed to misinformation on medical advice. Are the platforms responsible for maintaining the safety of its users? Or are we the people responsible for giving them the correct information?

We are all responsible for the safety of each other, or at least we should be. Sharing the correct information in stifling the misinformed is likely to slow down the spread of misinformation. Overwhelming the negative misinformation should be a priority of society itself, business and governments alike.

Morals and ethics of misinformation on bad medical advice:

Moral and ethics can be a thin grey line. Are we waiting for someone else to sort it out for us? Our governments release medical information on advice, but a lot of people don’t trust the governments. Usually due to previous incompetence. Trusting large corporations including “big pharma” and for profit news outlets who have self-serving agenda’s.

Using web MD is difficult if you don’t have a medical degree to discern the difference between symptoms to focus on, current health diagnoses and likely more I don’t understand. See a doctor first, such as a general practitioner (GP) before you take or do something that may well affect your or others health negatively.

Using Google Scholar to find papers, if you can read a scientific paper, this is a great source or use who.int. Otherwise, use your government’s federal or state health advice, usually health.gov, health.gov.au, health.gov.uk.

Whatever you do, don’t get advice from social media or some conspiracy blog, and for your sanity do not get information on any untrustworthy news networks.

With that out of the way, sharing actual fact’s with these people sharing any misinformation. Sharing quality sources to reduce bad medical advice in circulation. Moral and ethical get your sources from trusted mediums.

Avoiding cancel culture bullying on misinformation on medical advice:

Fighting these people who create, present and share misinformation without letting them gain traction. Bullying them only makes these bullies stronger, we need to get the real information out there rather than reacting. Avoid giving them weight and start bringing on science facts to fight groups and individuals with their own tools. Stop giving them exposure and start reducing it.

Cancelling a group will only lead them to set up another account or join an ever larger group. Making the individuals and groups stronger. We need to take the fire triangle elements out of the equation, remove the fuel source they desire to cause disruptions. Although, we can’t remove social media, we can ignore refusing to interact with bad medical advice.

The science:

Hofstadter (1964) termed ‘conspiratorial fantasies’ creating a negative effect on society, particularly within anti science groups. Especially on the social mediums of Facebook and YouTube. Daniel Allington et al. (2020) saying that social media is unregulated, giving an example of a news network being sanction as it relates to significant harm to viewers.

There was a strong positive relationship between use of social media platforms as sources of knowledge about COVID-19 and holding one or more conspiracy beliefs.

(Daniel Allington et al. 2020)

The misinformation sources were generally from external sources rather than within family groups. It were the more significant information was a proactive, positive approach to medical information.

Conclusion:

Arm yourselves with knowledge from trusted sources on medical advice, teach each other to gain skills in finding correct information. If your family, friend, partners don’t listen, keep an eye on them because you love them. They may realise the mistakes they’ve made and want to learn in the future.

Bring back community spirit and stop letting misinformation on medical advice rule our lives. Stay safe, care for those around you. Within caring groups such as family and close friends, we band together. Groups and individuals who share medical misinformation do not have your best interest in mind.

Sources & further readings:

Health-protective behaviour, social media usage and conspiracy belief during the COVID-19 public health emergency – CORRIGENDUM: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033291721000593

These Doctors Are Using TikTok To Fight Covid Misinformation. Retrieved from: https://www.unilad.co.uk/featured/these-doctors-are-using-tiktok-to-fight-covid-misinformation/

Immunizing the public against misinformation. Retrieved from: https://www.who.int/news-room/feature-stories/detail/immunizing-the-public-against-misinformation

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: