Researchers say their findings highlights the risks of referring to TikTok or social media as health information source
By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter
THURSDAY, March 16, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Public TikTok videos on mpox frequently provide incomplete, inaccurate information, according to a study published online March 14 in BMJ Global Health.
Ao Shi, from St. Georgeâs University of London, and colleagues analyzed the video content, information quality, and audience engagement of mpox-related videos on TikTok. The analysis included 85 mpox-related videos on TikTok from Jan. 1 to Aug. 11, 2022.
The researchers found that the overall average score for the videos was 39.56 of 80 on the DISCERN instrument and 1.93 of 4 on the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) criteria, with no video meeting all JAMA criteria. Video scores varied by source, with scores overall higher for videos produced by doctors and science communicators than for those made by institutional users, nurses, and the general public. Audience engagement was significantly and independently associated with having people in the video and including information on treatment choices.
“Our study highlights the risks of referring to TikTok or social media as a health information source,” the authors write. “Social media has become indispensable and is constantly accessed by most people, having become both a way to share and acquire information on all topics. Poor quality videos with biased content may lead to confusion and impair successful informed decision making. This exacerbates the ‘infodemic’ on social media, deterring efforts to prevent and manage disease outbreaks, notably the mpox outbreak.”
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