Facebook said it made changes to its page-ranking algorithm to reduce “posts with exaggerated or sensational health claims” and attempts to sell products based on these claims. YouTube said separately it was taking similar actions too.
FAKE MEDICAL CLAIMS
The Wall Street Journal has published a report based on its own investigation showing the prevalence on Facebook and YouTube of fake claims such as the use of baking soda injections to cure cancer. The report said Facebook and Google-owned YouTube outlined their plans to curb the spread of such fake medical claims after being presented with the findings of the investigation.
Facebook said it made changes last month as part of efforts to reduce the spread of misleading medical claims including from groups opposing the use of recommended vaccines. “In order to help people get accurate health information and the support they need, it’s imperative that we minimise health content that is sensational or misleading,” Facebook product manager Travis Yeh said in a blog post.
REDUCING SPREAD OF MISINFORMATION
The Journal report, based on interviews with doctors, lawyers, privacy experts and others, found numerous false or misleading claims about cancer therapies online. These included videos advocating the use of cell-killing ointments that could be dangerous, unverified dietary regimes or non-validated screening techniques.
YouTube said, on the other hand, it has been working for some time to reduce the spread of misinformation on the platform. “Misinformation is a difficult challenge and any misinformation on medical topics is especially concerning,” a YouTube spokesperson said in an emailed statement.