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Misleading information disseminated via social media

Anorexia on YouTube: an example of video-based social media
Welcome to the presentation about the role of social media in health care. As you know, nowadays, with the emerging smartphones and mobile devices and internet available on mobile devices, a lot of people have changed the way they interact with the information. Now, we don’t only retrieve the information. We can easily add the information which we want. So we found out there is a very serious problem regarding misleading health-related information promoted through video-based social media. In this presentation, I am going to take an example of how anorexia is promoted on YouTube. And this is just an example. You can go and search for any disease. It is the same. A lot of misinformation is being available online in the social media.
Here is the paper about misleading health-related information, which was published in Journal of Medical Internet Research. And the paper talks about pro-anorexia and social media. And you see, as you’ll see in the slides, that anorexia is lifestyle, not a disease. So there are a group of people who are promoting like anorexia is a beauty– anorexia is something we need to maintain, rather than it is a disease. Also, anorexia has a huge impact on health and quality of life of patients and relatives, especially for females. Due to anorexia, they go malnourished. And during the pregnancies they have really great problem just because of anorexia. And also, studies have proven it adds to morbidity and mortality of the patients.
Well-known problem for nearly decades. And watching pro-anorexia website can affect health of viewers. That has been proven already. 13% of female teenagers have reported using pro-anorexia websites in Belgium study. And also basically these pro-anorexia websites are videos promoting anorexia and talking about the tips and tricks– how to maintain and how to achieve anorexia. And here are a few examples. You see one of video from YouTube, saying I am 17-years-old girl from Norway. In this video, I want to post about things for– tips and tricks that will help you to lose extra pounds. Actually it’s about weight.
And the goal of our study is to extract videos related with pro-anorexia and ask doctors to review whether the videos chosen are related talking about pro-anorexia as a disease. Here, I talk about the method from the study. First, we extracted 7,500 anorexia-related videos. And then we have selected the more popular and also 30 of random– 110 most popular and 30 random– altogether, 140 videos– and asked them to classify into informative, pro-anorexia, and unrelated. And there are a few examples. You can see how these pro-anorexia videos looks and how informative video looks. And the results are like this. Around one third of videos are pro-anorexia and half informative and 20% unrelated.
And if we extrapolate the number from the sample size, it is around 2,000 videos promoting anorexia in YouTube. And pro-anorexia videos are less viewed, but they’re more favorited and had more rating activity, meaning there is a community which is promoting pro-anorexia. When they want to see the pro-anorexia anorexic video, they put likes, they share, they add to their favourite. Whereas if they see informative videos, very less people are liking it, very less people are sharing it and adding to favourite, compared to pro-anorexia video. The top 20 pro-anorexia video had 9.5 million views. Also, we studied the demographic information available level in 15 videos. Minors were in top age group in 80% of them.
And the conclusion is there is a need for better tools to philtre pro-anorexia content, actually. We need a tool which can filter misinformation– health-related misinformation– from the videos available in social platform. Also, pro-anorexia were highly rated, and they were being watched by minors. So definitely we need more research focusing on how to educate teenagers and how to make awareness and empower them– teenagers, teachers, parents– so that they should not believe whatever’s available online. They should be able to distinguish between misinformation and health-related information out of videos.

This video presents Syed-Abdul et. al. study on misleading health-related information promoted through video-based social media: anorexia on YouTube.

The amount of information being uploaded onto social video platforms, such as YouTube, Vimeo, and Veoh, continues to spiral, making it increasingly difficult to discern reliable health information from misleading content. There are thousands of YouTube videos promoting misleading information about anorexia (e.g, anorexia as a healthy lifestyle). Health authorities producing videos to combat anorexia should consider involving celebrities and models to reach a wider audience.

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Social Media in Healthcare: Opportunities and Challenges

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