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A damning new report says Facebook is a ‘major threat’ to public health

In other news, the sky is blue.

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Image: KnowTechie

Everyone knows Facebook is full of misinformation. Now, depending on who you talk to, that supposed misinformation comes from many different sides. I mean, there are people out there who still believe the Plandemic video.

Now, a new study from activist group Avaaz looks at just how much medical misinformation is on the platform, and what kind of reach it has. The results are staggering. In total, global health misinformation spanning across at least five countries generated 3.8 billion views in the last year, according to Avaaz. The report goes as far as to call Facebook a “major threat” to public health.

In addition, “Content from the top 10 websites spreading health misinformation had almost four times as many estimated views on Facebook as equivalent content from the websites of 10 leading health institutions, such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”

In total, Avaaz identified 42 Facebook pages as the main drivers of misinformation regarding various health topics. Those pages are followed by nearly 28 million people and have generated nearly 800 million views.

Below, you can see the top 10 websites that drive health misinformation campaigns on Facebook:

Rank Website Estimated Views
1 Realfarmacy.com 253,618,426
2 globalresearch.ca 235,638,637
3 collective-evolution.com 170,563,539
4 jedanews.com 166,154,587
5 ripostelaique.com 140,179,475
6 mercola.com 133,536,826
7 lesmoutonsrebelles.com 111,483,871
8 sonsoflibertymedia.com 99,185,021
9 wakingtimes.com 93,342,708
10 nowtheendbegins.com 82,322,883

 

When looking at actually Facebook Pages, these are the top offenders:

Rank Page Estimated Views
1 Dr. Joseph Mercola en Español 101,899,218
2 Bradlee Dean 97,745,513
3 Collective Evolution 72,804,365
4 Waking Times 50,094,659
5 The Farmacy 42,061,115
6 Jeda news 36,601,124
7 Realfarmacy.com 28,415,650
8 Grow Food, Not Lawns 28,312,274
9 Wake Up World 23,121,071
10 The Truth About Cancer 22,559,261

Because nothing screams real medical advice quite like “Realfarmacy.com.”

The type of content that was spread through these misinformation websites included:

  • An article claiming that Bill Gates sponsored a polio vaccination that was responsible for the paralysis of 500k children only in India. The article received more than 8 million views on Facebook.
  • An article full of phony cures for a variety of deadly diseases. This article was viewed 4.5 million times on Facebook.
  • An article suggesting that quarantine is harmful to public health. The article received over 2.4 million views.

A huge influx in misinformation regarding health issues started around the time COVID-19 began spreading around much of the world, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. Avaaz notes that Facebook tried to promote reliable sources, but at the same time, its algorithms were actively promoting networks that spread false information.

Now, where have we heard about Facebook promoting garbage before

There’s a lot more that we didn’t cover here, so make sure to check out the full study at Avaaz.

What do you think? Surprised by the results of this study? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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