How to spot questionable medical advice on social media

You might have seen FALSE treatment and cures for COVID-19 circulating online, such as eating more garlic, making your own hand sanitizer at home and taking a miracle mineral supplement.

As the world continues to struggle with the spread of coronavirus, misinformation about how to deal with it are spreading, too.

With a wave of coronavirus misinformation flooding the internet, it is more important than ever to recognize questionable medical advice on social media.

For starters, to find some of the best public resources on coronavirus, go here.

Facebook also offers some easy tips to spot fake news in your news feed:

  • Be wary of headlines: If shocking claims in a headline sound unbelievable, they probably are. Watch for headlines in all caps or with excessive exclamation points.
  • Investigate the source: Is the story written by an established news source or an unfamiliar organization? False news can often mimic authentic news sites. Check the “About” section of a website to learn more about the source.
  • Look at the photos: False news articles often contain manipulated images or videos. An exaggerated photo can indicate clickbait.
  • Check the evidence: Check the author’s sources to confirm that the information is accurate. Lake of evidence or unnamed sources can indicate a false news story.
  • Is the story a joke? Fake news sites, like the Onion, release satirical articles that are intended to be funny. Check the story’s details, tone and source before believing a news article.

Still not sure what to believe?

Dr. Tony Hampton, a family medicine physician with Advocate Medical Group in Chicago, offers some advice to those questioning the validity of health advice on social media.

“I recommend cross-referencing any recommendations online with a member of your clinical team including your physician, Advance practice clinician, pharmacist, nutritionist, etc,” Dr. Hampton says.

You can also visit established online resources. Here are some of the best. You can bookmark this page for further reference. It will be updated as more good sources become available.

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