Rejecting Science Part 1: Medicine, Social Media and Misinformation
MAR 18
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Peter Brindley and Timothy Caulfield answer the big questions around how science and health are represented in the public sphere.

What is science? When do we accept it and when do we reject it? The representation of science and medical information on social media has erupted in recent times – in large part thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. Along the way, misinformation has come to the forefront. Why do people believe misinformation, where does it come from and what damage is it doing?

These questions are not new, however in the modern world (pre- and post-Covid) they are in the public conversation more than ever. Tim believes that the spread of misinformation is one of the greatest challenges of today – sparking an ‘Infodemic’. The ideological nature of misinformation has also grown in recent times. Whilst Tim contends that it has always been there, it has become more dominant with the ever-growing popularity of social media.

Social media is not going anywhere. As such, we must learn to live with it, and employ its use in such a way to be proactive and productive. Tim talks to the positives of social media, in particular its ability to decrease feelings of social isolation as well as its entertainment and information value. However, the current information environment rewards extremism, polarisation, and the spread of misinformation.

So, is social media the symptom, the disease or both...?

As Tim explains, it is all the above.

How can healthcare professionals move towards a positive use of social media?  Tim believes engagement is constructive and he favours healthcare professionals and peak medical bodies being on social media.

Finally, Tim addresses the shifting landscape when it comes to healthcare engaging on social media. Tim believes that clinicians can (and should) share valuable content online.

For more like this, head to our podcast page. #CodaPodcast

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