Hoaxes Are Making Doctors’ Jobs Harder

This isn’t the first time I am hearing about it.

I am very concerned for the patient support groups there discussing their medical issues. I agree that being vocal about the problems with others works in certain communities (or social structures). However, they need to be mindful of the privacy implications as well.

Facebook’s algorithm rewards and encourages engagement with content that provokes strong emotions, which is exactly the kind of content we warn patients to doubt and carefully assess, since false information is often packaged as novel and sensational. The report’s title calls Facebook’s algorithm “A Major Threat to Public Health” — something our clinical and research experiences amply confirm

Opinion | ‘But I Saw It on Facebook’: Hoaxes Are Making Doctors’ Jobs Harder – The New York Times

Here’s the drawback:

We see the consequences in the clinic and the emergency room. Patients question our evidence-based medical guidance, refuse safe treatments and vaccines, and cite Facebook posts as “proof” that Covid-19 is not real.

The belief systems when conditioned by algorithms are difficult to eradicate. I have requested many families to speak to me directly about the disease course- I have dissuaded them from Googling their symptoms. I am not sure if that helps though.

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