Home News Facebook, YouTube to Act on ‘Sensational’ Health Cures After Report

Facebook, YouTube to Act on ‘Sensational’ Health Cures After Report

Facebook and YouTube said Tuesday they were moving to decrease the spread of deceiving health care claims after a media report demonstrated the proliferation of bogus cancer cures on social media. Facebook said it made changes to its page-ranking algorithm to lessen “posts with misrepresented or electrifying health claims” and attempts to sell items based on these claims. YouTube said independently it was taking similar actions.


The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday distributed a report dependent on its own investigation showing the prevalence on Facebook and YouTube of phony cases, for example, the use of baking soda injections to cure cancer.

The report said Facebook and Google-owned YouTube laid out their plans to control the spread of such fake medical claims after being given the discoveries of the examination.

Facebook said it made changes a month ago as a component of efforts to reduce the spread of deceiving medical claims including from groups opposing the use of suggested vaccines.

“In order to help people get exact health information and the help they need, it’s basic that we minimize health content that is sensational or deceiving,” Facebook product manager Travis Yeh said in a blog entry.

“We handled this in a similar way to how we’ve recently diminished low-quality content like clickbait: by distinguishing phrases that were usually used in these posts to predict which posts may incorporate sensational health claims or advancement of items with health-related claims, and after that demonstrating these lower in news feed.”

The Journal report, in view of meetings with doctors, lawyers, privacy experts and others, found various false or misleading claims about malignant growth treatments online. These included videos advocating the use of cell-killing treatments that could be dangerous, unverified dietary regimes, or unvalidated screening procedures.

YouTube said it has been working for quite a while to lessen the spread of misinformation on the platform. “Misinformation is a troublesome challenge and any misinformation on medical topics is particularly concerning,” a YouTube representative said in an emailed statement Tuesday.

“We’ve found a way to address this including surfacing progressively authoritative content across our site for people looking for cancer treatment-related topics, starting to reduce suggestions of certain medical misinformation videos and indicating information panels with more sources where they can fact be able to check information for themselves.”