Results reveal Australians may be at risk

New studies reveal an increasing number of Australians are being exposed to health misinformation online.

Researchers say social platforms are filled with inaccurate information on critical health subjects.

The facts

According to public health researcher, Maryke Steffens, there has been an increase in the spread of misinformation and clinical evidence online.

“One study suggests that up to a third of YouTube videos on certain health topics have inaccurate or distorted information,” Steffens said.

“Another study looking at Facebook vaccination pages found that over half of the posts weren’t in line with official guidelines for immunisations and so were providing incorrect information.”

A social media report from August 2018 revealed 60 percent of Australians used Facebook and YouTube during the month – or 15 million active users.

As well as this, 2016 Sensis figures showed 35 percent of Australians use social media as their source for information on news and current affairs.

What you should do

Social media can be a valuable source for up-to-date information and Q&A’s if you follow reliable health and news authorities (such as Queensland Health) – though it can also quickly create questionable theories and incorrect data.

The basis of our health decisions should be from medical evidence and research, so when this is mixed with the beliefs and opinions of users online, it’s easy to see how misinformation can be dispersed.

If you have any questions regarding your health, it’s highly recommended to consult with your regular GP as the implications of misinformation on our health can be alarming and potentially fatal. Not to mention cause unnecessary stress.