YouTube also continues to guide people to sources that allow them to fact-check the information for themselves, but as of Monday the WSJ found a post for a “cell-killing, or necrotizing, ointment called black salve to treat skin cancer.”
David Gorski, a professor of surgery at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, told the WSJ that “use of the ointment can inadvertently burn or kill healthy skin, and doesn’t remove cancerous growths beneath the skin.”
Pinterest in February stopped serving up results on the topic of vaccinations in an attempt to control what it called unsubstantiated claims about health issues. Site users were able to pin vaccine-related images to their online boards that might lead to suggestions for similar content, but the posts stopped serving up in searches.
Baidu in 2016 began screening for misleading information after Wei Zexi, a college sophomore, died from following misleading cancer treatment advice in an advertisement that served up in the search engine’s query results.
Chinese officials, which wanted the search engine to do more to protect its citizens, investigated the situation and ordered Baidu to change the way it displayed and labeled information pertaining to medical advice.
Misinformation, however, extends much further than false medical claims. Misinformation also has permeated politics, as several people have recently acknowledged to me, but that’s a topic for another time.