US surgeons warn that health misinformation is an “emergency threat”


U.S. surgeon Dr. Vivek Murthy has released The warning brings the danger of health misinformation, calling it an “emergency threat”, and social media companies and technology platforms need to take more measures to solve it.

As New York Times This is a rather unusual step for the surgeon’s office, which usually issues recommendations around specific health issues, such as the opioid epidemic. In a press release, the surgeon stated that “health misinformation has caused significant harm” and disrupted vaccination efforts.

The consultation includes a Measures that individuals, health organizations, researchers, and journalists can take to help reduce the spread of misinformation. It is worth noting that it also called on social media companies, although it did not name any platforms. But the report echoed most of the criticism faced by platforms such as Facebook and Twitter during the pandemic.

The report states: “The built-in product features of technology platforms facilitate the spread of misinformation.” For example, social media platforms encourage people to share content to get likes, comments, and other positive signals of participation. These features help connect and inform people, but they reward participation rather than accuracy. Compared with emotionally neutral content, these features are more likely to spread emotional misinformation. “

The report also highlighted the problem of algorithm amplification, which may make it difficult for companies such as Facebook to prevent misinformation .

The report stated: “Algorithms that determine what users see online usually prioritize content based on its popularity or similarity with previously seen content.” “As a result, users who have been exposed to misinformation over time We will see more and more information over time, further deepening people’s misunderstandings. Some websites also combine different types of information (such as news, advertisements, and posts from users) into one feed, which may make consumers feel Confused about the potential source of any given content.”

The report also recommends that companies “prioritize the early detection of’super spreaders’ and repeat offenders of misinformation.” A widely cited report by the Anti-Digital Hate Center found that more than half of the anti-vaccine misinformation on the Internet is related . On Thursday, the White House Press Secretary The same report was also cited, stating that many of these “super communicators” are still active on Facebook.

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