This was revealed by a new review by the WHO on health infodemics and disinformation. Four studies reviewed in the paper looked at the rate of health disinformation on social media and found that it reached up to 51% in vaccine-associated posts, up to 28.8% in Covid-related posts, and up to 60% in vaccine-related posts. pandemics. Among YouTube videos on emerging infectious diseases, 20-30% were found to contain inaccurate or misleading information. I STUDY.
02 SEPT –
Misinterpretations of health information, which increases during epidemics and disasters, often negatively impact people’s mental health and increase hesitation about the vaccine and can delay the delivery of health care. This was revealed by a recent review “Infodemic and health disinformation: a systematic review of revisions”, edited by the WHO just published.
However, according to the authors, the effects of infodemic and online health disinformation can be countered “by developing legal actions and policies, creating and promoting awareness campaigns, improving health-related content in the mass media and increasing people’s digital and health literacy. “.
The systematic review of published studies found 31 systematic reviews that analyzed fake news, disinformation, disinformation, and health-related infodemics. Disinformation was defined as false or inaccurate information deliberately intended to deceive, but disinformation also included misleading or distorted information, manipulated narratives or facts, and propaganda.
The authors collected, compared and summarized this evidence in order to identify ways to address the negative effects of false health information on public health.
Understanding the role of social media in spreading disinformation
“Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram are essential to spread the rapid and wide dissemination of information,” explain the authors. The repercussions of disinformation on social media include negative effects such as “an increase in the misinterpretation of scientific knowledge, the polarization of opinion, the escalation of fear and panic or reduced access to health care”.
The increased spread of health disinformation in a health emergency is accelerated by easy access to online content, especially on smartphones. “During crises such as infectious disease outbreaks and disasters, the overproduction of data from multiple sources, the quality of information and the speed with which new information is disseminated create social and health impacts.”
The authors found that social media has disseminated poor quality health information during pandemics, humanitarian crises and health emergencies at an increasing rate: “Such dissemination of unreliable evidence on health issues amplifies hesitation about vaccines and promotes unproven treatments.”
Counteracting online disinformation
Four studies reviewed in the paper looked at the rate of health disinformation on social media and found that it reached up to 51% in vaccine-associated posts, up to 28.8% in COVID-19-associated posts, and up to 60% in posts. related to pandemics. Among YouTube videos on emerging infectious diseases, 20-30% were found to contain inaccurate or misleading information.
Experts and healthcare professionals are among those best placed to refute misinformation and direct users to evidence-based sources of information. Countermeasures include awareness campaigns for patients and healthcare professionals, evidence-based data platforms, the inclusion of scientific evidence in health-related content in the mass media, and efforts to improve media and health literacy.CopyAMP code.
“Promoting and disseminating reliable health information is essential for governments, health authorities, researchers and doctors to overcome false or misleading health information disseminated on social media”, say the authors again who underline on the other hand how social media channels media could be used to counter false or misleading information, although further studies may be needed to evaluate the best format for accomplishing this counter information and to determine which channels work best for different populations, geographical contexts and cultural contexts.
Effects of online misinformation on people’s health behaviors
The systematic review found that people experience mental, social, political and / or economic distress due to misleading and false health-related content on social media during pandemics, health emergencies, and humanitarian crises.
However, not all social media effects were negative during the COVID-19 pandemic. Eight reviews reported positive results, and some found that different social media platforms generated significantly better knowledge and awareness, greater compliance with health recommendations, and more positive behaviors among users than classic information dissemination models.
The document recognizes the role of social media in communication and crisis management during health emergencies, but underlines the need to counter the production of disinformation on these platforms. Local, national and international efforts are needed, as well as further research.
“Future research should investigate the effectiveness and safety of computer-led corrective and interventional measures against health disinformation, disinformation and fake news and tailored ways to share health-related content on social media platforms without distorted messages” .
02 September 2022
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