We’re living through difficult times – yes, there’s the pandemic and the social isolation, lockdowns, border closures that come with it, but there’s a misinformation pandemic too.
For many of you, your social media feed is filled with influencers of all kinds – people who look amazing in a bikini, some who blend a green juice to boot whilst fully clothed; the issue though is that anyone, literally anyone, can dish out health information to you with absolutely no qualifications to do so.
You may think I’m being qualification-ist (if that’s a thing)- I’m not, I’m simply very aware of the significant damage misinformation can do in the area of health.
Recently the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) made it even harder for health professionals to combat health misinformation on social media. They released a statement warning us against sharing our expert views on vaccination lest it lead anyone to seeking out vaccination.
WATCH: How to talk to anti-vaxxers. Post continues below.
The big problem here is that Gwyneth Paltrow (and her mates) can post whatever she likes about vaccines (as inaccurate as it may be) and a qualified doctor, pharmacist, scientist cannot. We have been hamstrung and somewhat silenced to combat the hogwash out there and it’s scary stuff.
It wasn’t that long ago that Belle Gibson, an unqualified health influencer, fabricated a cancer journey and started telling people how they too could “cure” and “treat” their cancers. Sadly, many followers missed out on evidence-based medical therapies for their diagnosis due to her fraudulent actions.
We continue to see all sorts of health related nonsense on our feeds (another problem by the way is how do you know what’s nonsense and what isn’t?!) – people recommending celery juice to cure ailments that we didn’t know existed and actresses like Paltrow telling us to steam our vaginas (FYI do not – you can burn yourself and it’s not pleasant).