We all know the effects that fake news have on society: they lead us to mistakes, people get angry about things that never happened and some others are scared about things that aren’t true. Basically, fake news can influence our collective behavior and even put us in a state of collective hysteria, leading us to take reckless actions as we have seen in the past. The last US Presidential Elections or the Brexit vote in UK are clear proof of what can fake news accomplish, but it looks like news are not the only damaging thing for us. According to a new study, fake social media can also affect our health, and not in the same way.
As per a research carried by the Keck School of Medicine at USC, fake profiles on social media can be very damaging for our health. The information spread on these fake profiles about health issues, prescriptions and more can have a negative effect on people, leading them to misinformation and health issues.
Bots and fake profiles are damaging to our health
According to the study, the researchers analyzed automatized bots designed to help promote debate about ideas and specific products – but, instead of helping, they can be very harmful. Once they spread, the misinformation they carry could put all of us in risk. One example they gave is that this bots give credit to celebrities like Jenny McCarthy, who has claimed several times that vaccines create autism when it has been more than proved that this claim is wrong.
“Social bots may not have the star power of Jenny McCarthy, but what they lack in fame, they make up for in quantity and determination. They are designed to promote a specific, slanted narrative — 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
It’s very important that we educate our children to be critical, and try to avoid bots and fake profiles as much as we can.