Facebook posts with misinformation have higher user engagement
Many people use Facebook as a resource for medical information. A research group has published the results of an analysis of posts on idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF)-related Facebook groups and pages for the presence of guideline content, user engagement, and usefulness.
The researchers conclude that there is useful information about IPF available to patients and caregivers on Facebook. But that patients lack clear instruction on how to distinguish between posts containing useful versus harmful information. This is further complicated by the fact that potentially harmful information is often paired alongside useful guideline content. Health care professionals need to identify ways to help patients discriminate between useful and potentially harmful information presented on social media. Health care professionals should also strive to increase medical professional–generated content aimed at patient education about IPF on Facebook.
Additionally, encouraging posts that contain useful information to generate increased viewer engagement (likes, shares, and comments) will be critical to enhancing the dissemination of accurate medical information on Facebook.