How often have we stumbled upon a YouTube channel that claims to have an instant yet seemingly bizarre solution to a problem? Many people even tend to believe this obviously blatant misrepresentation of the truth even though they know better. Social media is increasingly turning into a place that is propagating hoaxes and false solutions to serious problems. Many so called experts on social media are spreading lies that claim to cure maladies like cancer and autism. They also say that doctors are in fact evil people who are deceiving the world to make money. Another myth that is being propagated is that vaccines are actually not safe.
A powerhouse of misinformation
A battle cry has now been sounded to dispel the myths being circulated on social media. In Spain for instance, a major fraction of people turn to online avenues to find potential recourse to diseases. The internet has been found to be the second most important source for pseudotherapies, which is a a rather telling statement on the state of affairs in the country.
Some recent studies have established beyond doubt that the health information being circulated online is not only fake, but can also have dangerous consequences if adapted. Moreover, another fact that has emerged is that much of this false information has been intentionally circulated. However, even though the facts have been established, social media companies refuse to budge from their decision to not ban the content based on the clause of freedom of expression.
A startling analysis
The Medical Association of Barcelona, the Catalan Health Department and the Audiovisual Council of Catalonia have made a surprising conclusion based on the analysis of YouTube videos. The videos were said to make some false and dangerous statements and had more than 25 million views to their credit. One of these videos made the preposterous suggestion that cancer can be cured in a matter of 42 hours simply by using beet juice. The study also said that 74 per cent of the top 50 results that popped up when one searched for cures were pseudoscientific claims. Despite the institutions making a joint request to YouTube to take down the content, they refused to do so citing company regulations.
A fake health guru
One of the most popular propagators of false remedies and pseudoscience, Josep Pamies, has more than 330,000 followers on Fcebook. This is a biting testimony to the way in which people fall prey to these fake health gurus. On his personal Facebook page, Pamies has been promoting fake remedies which include the use of MMS, a diluted industrial bleach, to cure all maladies from cancer to autism. The fact that this product has been banned by the Spanish government has got Pamies into trouble with the Catalan government that is now imposing sanctions on him.