Medical misinformation

By | December 15, 2016

“Fake” news is not limited to politics or celebrity gossip. A study by Ceren Budak, an assistant professor at the School of Information, shows that the most popular health stories on social media may also be the least accurate. For example, four out of five popular posts on Facebook about Zika contained accurate information, but the ones containing inaccurate information or conspiracy theories were far more popular. Budak says it’s possible to combat online misinformation, but timing is key. “If you’re too late, it’s hard for you to catch up and combat [misinformation].” Also, the spread of misinformation by people online could be much greater than what the new study shows. “They just don’t really check the credibility of the information. They receive and just share it right away,” she says.