Germany-based network of websites and Facebook accounts amplify clickbait content to monetize web traffic via Google AdSense and e-commerce
SUMMARY This investigation, which took place between May and August 2022, shows that a network of German- and English-language Facebook pages are using the platform to build an online following of millions which can be financially exploited. We identified this network by analyzing various open-source information, such as Google Analytics and AdSense codes, web infrastructure, … Continued
What you need to know about the current monkeypox outbreak: transmission, symptoms, treatments, etc.
Photo by CDC/Cynthia S. Goldsmith at Public Health Image Library (PHIL) The ongoing monkeypox virus outbreak began in May 2022, when the U.K. notified the World Health Organization (WHO) of a handful of confirmed cases of monkeypox. Soon, cases appeared in many other countries, and as of 9 August 2022, there have been over 40,000 confirmed … Continued
What do we know about the safety of titanium dioxide in menstrual hygiene products?
Photo by Josefin on Unsplash Introduction Social media posts claiming that titanium dioxide in tampons are responsible for reproductive cancers began circulating in early August 2022. One notable example is this TikTok video by user Rachel Morgan, whose video received more than 1.5 million views and attracted more than 30,000 comments. In this article, we … Continued
What do we know about the possible link between acetaminophen use during pregnancy and autism?
Photo by Freepik Each week, approximately 23% of the adult U.S. population use a fever reducer and painkiller, such as Tylenol, which is the brand name for the drug acetaminophen, also known as paracetamol. This medication is also widely used during pregnancy, with an estimated 59% to 65% of pregnant women using acetaminophen-containing drugs at … Continued
Shedding light on LinkedIn’s enforcement of health misinformation policies: A pilot study
Summary of findings The career- and business-oriented social media platform LinkedIn has been absent from the public conversation around the topic of health misinformation, as compared to more informal platforms like Facebook and Twitter. While LinkedIn’s policies state that it prohibits “content directly contradicting guidance from leading global health organizations and public health authorities”, anecdotal … Continued
Following the misinformation URL trail to identify key spreaders: A case study on Twitter
Introduction As social media platforms try to tackle the spread of misinformation, their first challenge is the reliable identification of which content breaches their misinformation policy. Like everything in the social media space, this has to be done at a very large scale if it is to have any meaningful impact. Once identified, such content … Continued
Assessing the effect of COVID-19 vaccines on mortality: a story of confounding factors and their role in COVID-19 misinformation
Introduction COVID-19 vaccines have been instrumental in our fight against the pandemic and our return to a normal life, thanks to their ability to reduce the number of cases, hospitalizations, and mortality. Their effectiveness against severe COVID-19 and death was proven in randomized controlled trials (RCT) that involved tens of thousands of people[1,2]. While RCTs … Continued
Infection-induced immunity versus vaccine-induced immunity: Weighing the benefits and risks
Introduction Multiple articles and social media posts have debated the strength of infection-induced immunity—commonly referred to as natural immunity—compared to vaccination when it comes to the best protection against COVID-19. Public health authorities like the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recommended that previously infected people get vaccinated. But scientific studies have … Continued
Statements in Project Veritas video contradict public health authorities and experts’ recommendation for eligible children to be vaccinated against COVID-19
Introduction On 27 September 2021, the group Project Veritas published a video on several social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, containing claims that children don’t need to get a COVID-19 vaccine and that the long-term safety of COVID-19 vaccines is uncertain. The claims are based on an interview with two people identified in … Continued
Copypasta of an ICU doctor’s tweet stokes COVID-19 skepticism by mimicking bot-like behavior
Introduction The spread of the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 has put many countries back on high alert. Both the U.S. and the U.K. have seen the Delta variant become the predominant cause of COVID-19 cases. However, one thing is clear: the COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. remain highly effective even against the … Continued