Social media platforms are acting to limit the impact of misleading information concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is a move welcomed by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP).
As reported this morning, Twitter plans to warn users when a tweet contains a disputed or misleading content, and Facebook is organising for ‘fact checkers’ to review false information on its platform.
“Throughout this pandemic, I have been warning Australians to be wary of false or misleading medical ‘advice’ and updates on social media concerning the COVID-19 pandemic and other health issues,” explains Dr Nespolon.
He further explains that it is not unusual for people to present alternative therapies on social media which are not supported by science, or the medical community.
“However, the COVID-19 pandemic has obviously given them an opportunity to dial up their content and alarm an even greater number of already anxious Australians.”
This year, so far, the RACGP have spoken out against:
- Celebrity chef Pete Evans and his ‘hybrid subtle energy revitalisation platform’ costing $15,000.
- Model and businesswoman Miranda Kerr and her ‘medical medium’ who believes celery juice contains an ‘undiscovered subgroup of sodium’ that someone ‘fights off viruses’ like COVID-19.
- Retired surfer Taj Burrow’s anti-vaxxer comments.
- Former Home and Away actor Isabel Lucas saying she doesn’t trust the ‘path’ of vaccination.
- Taylor Winterstein claiming that there is a ‘strong core of families’ in the NRL who (like her) are anti-vaxxers and that COVID-19 is a ‘planned scam’.
“It seems like every day we have had another outlandish conspiracy theory or ‘cure’ for COVID-19,” says Dr Nespolon.
“The new measures could not come soon enough and I welcome these companies introducing these initiatives.
“So please action a ‘sniff test’ to posts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the like and ask yourself – is this really reliable?”