What You Should Know About Asking for Medical Advice on Social Media
It is without a doubt that social media is the fastest way of sharing and acquiring news and information. Unfortunately, the credibility of the sources is not screened. Therefore, you can literally share anything from anyone at any time. There is news, and then there is also fake news, and sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference.
Facebook is the most widely used social media platform in Cambodia. 42% of the population uses Facebook according to 2018 Cambodian statistics. Researchers found that out of the ten most-shared health-related articles, seven contained misleading or false information.
There are now plenty of Health Communities on Facebook where people share medical advice based on their personal experience. Alternative health pages have been known to spread falsehood about medicinal remedies that are not backed by traditional science, or debate issues like vaccination.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently called it a global health threat with the amount of fake medical news circulating through the platform.
So before you trust what you read on the internet and click that share button, here are some tips:
Facebook works best when asking for advice on parenting or discipline issues, not medical ones. If you need medical advice, you can seek recommendations for doctors.
Always check the author or the source of the medical article. You should only rely on credible medical journals and expert quotes. Established news organizations usually own their domains and they have a standard look that you are probably familiar with. Sites with such endings like .com.co should make you raise your eyebrows and tip you off that you need to dig around more to see if they can be trusted. This is true even when the site looks professional and has semi-recognizable logos. For example, abcnews.com is a legitimate news source, but abcnews.com.co is not, despite its similar appearance.
Headlines often will be written in an exaggerated language with the intention of being misleading and then attached to stories that are about a completely different topic or just not true. These stories usually generate a lot of comments on Facebook or Twitter. If a lot of these comments call out the article for being fake or misleading, it probably is.
Just because a person has a skin infection doesn't mean he will be able to diagnose it in you or tell you all about the best available treatments. We must not confuse experience with expertise.
If you have an injury or a breathing problem, seek medical care right away. Urgent situations are not the time to post on Facebook and ask people on what they think you might be experiencing.