Study warns users about health information on TikTok

the study In just a few years, social networks have become a source of information in many fields, including beauty and health.

There are countless posts offering advice and tips on how to achieve glowing skin, smooth skin, and rock-hard abs, how to treat allergies, how to limit winter sickness, how to improve your sleep, and more.

In some cases, users are not affected and the flawed advice simply doesn’t work due to lack of reliable evidence for these claims, but some information shared by users and self-proclaimed health influencers could prove to be much more dangerous.

This is the result of a recent study by American researchers who examined health content circulating on Chinese social platforms. However, it is worth noting that scientists are not completely alarmed on this matter.

“While there is high-quality factual information circulating on social media platforms such as TikTok, it can be very difficult to separate it from the actually harmful information spread by influencers,” says Dr. Physician Dr. Christopher Roxbury says. Experts from the University of Chicago School of Medicine cited in the news release.

In a study published in the journal Otorhinolaryngology, researchers analyzed health information posted on the Chinese social network TikTok to determine if it was false and to identify the source of the information.

More specifically, the study authors focused on hashtags related to a specific health condition, in this case sinusitis (#sinusitis, #sinus, #sinusinfection), and found that they “limited TikTok’s impact to date. A 24-hour study was conducted. -Change the algorithm. ”

The final step was to classify the resulting videos based on content category, content type, and credibility.

This was done using researcher judgment as well as tools such as the Patient Education Materials Assessment Tool for Audiovisual Materials, which is a validated empirical resource.

Non-factual information in many videos Researchers found that almost half (44%) of the videos they studied contained non-factual information.

“Videos from ‘non-medical influencers’ (content creators with over 10,000 followers who do not identify as medical professionals) account for almost half of all videos, and are likely to contain incorrect information. “Overwhelmingly, medical professionals produced educational content and received higher scores for video quality, factual information, and comparison of harms and benefits,” the researchers explained. .

Scholars have highlighted the dangerous nature of the “spread of non-factual videos about medical conditions, treatments, and preventive measures.”

Not only do these videos put users’ health at risk, they can even encourage them not to consult a trained medical professional or forgo necessary treatment.

“Patients in my clinic often ask me questions about something they have seen online or on social media, and many times that information has misguided them.” said Christopher Roxbury, lead author of the study.

“In some cases, we see patients who have already sought and received such treatment without any benefit. In rare cases, they may be harmed.”

The point here is not to criticize trusted social networks for health content, but to alert users and guide them to access the best information possible.

In this regard, the researchers recommend “cross-referencing information with reliable sources and consulting your trusted health care professional when in doubt.” – ETX Daily Up

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