Contemporary commentators describe the current period as“an era of fake news”in which misinformation,generated intentionally or unintentionally, spreads rapidly. Although affecting all areas of life, it poses particularproblems in the health arena, where it can delay or prevent effective care, in some cases threatening the lives ofindividuals. While examples of the rapid spread of misinformation date back to the earliest days of scientificmedicine, the internet, by allowing instantaneous communication and powerful amplification has brought abouta quantum change. In democracies where ideas compete in the marketplace for attention, accurate scientificinformation, which may be difficult to comprehend and even dull, is easily crowded out by sensationalized news.In order to uncover the current evidence and better understand the mechanism of misinformation spread, wereport a systematic review of the nature and potential drivers of health-related misinformation. We searchedPubMed, Cochrane, Web of Science, Scopus and Google databases to identify relevant methodological andempirical articles published between 2012 and 2018. A total of 57 articles were included for full-text analysis.Overall, we observe an increasing trend in published articles on health-related misinformation and the role ofsocial media in its propagation. The most extensively studied topics involving misinformation relate to vacci-nation, Ebola and Zika Virus, although others, such as nutrition, cancer,fluoridation of water and smoking alsofeatured. Studies adopted theoretical frameworks from psychology and network science, while co-citationanalysis revealed potential for greater collaboration acrossfields. Most studies employed content analysis, socialnetwork analysis or experiments, drawing on disparate disciplinary paradigms. Future research should examinesusceptibility of different sociodemographic groups to misinformation and understand the role of belief systemson the intention to spread misinformation. Further interdisciplinary research is also warranted to identify ef-fective and tailored interventions to counter the spread of health-related misinformation online.

Systematic literature review on the spread of health-related misinformation on social media

Wang Yuxi
;
Torbica Aleksandra;Stuckler David
2019

Abstract

Contemporary commentators describe the current period as“an era of fake news”in which misinformation,generated intentionally or unintentionally, spreads rapidly. Although affecting all areas of life, it poses particularproblems in the health arena, where it can delay or prevent effective care, in some cases threatening the lives ofindividuals. While examples of the rapid spread of misinformation date back to the earliest days of scientificmedicine, the internet, by allowing instantaneous communication and powerful amplification has brought abouta quantum change. In democracies where ideas compete in the marketplace for attention, accurate scientificinformation, which may be difficult to comprehend and even dull, is easily crowded out by sensationalized news.In order to uncover the current evidence and better understand the mechanism of misinformation spread, wereport a systematic review of the nature and potential drivers of health-related misinformation. We searchedPubMed, Cochrane, Web of Science, Scopus and Google databases to identify relevant methodological andempirical articles published between 2012 and 2018. A total of 57 articles were included for full-text analysis.Overall, we observe an increasing trend in published articles on health-related misinformation and the role ofsocial media in its propagation. The most extensively studied topics involving misinformation relate to vacci-nation, Ebola and Zika Virus, although others, such as nutrition, cancer,fluoridation of water and smoking alsofeatured. Studies adopted theoretical frameworks from psychology and network science, while co-citationanalysis revealed potential for greater collaboration acrossfields. Most studies employed content analysis, socialnetwork analysis or experiments, drawing on disparate disciplinary paradigms. Future research should examinesusceptibility of different sociodemographic groups to misinformation and understand the role of belief systemson the intention to spread misinformation. Further interdisciplinary research is also warranted to identify ef-fective and tailored interventions to counter the spread of health-related misinformation online.
Wang, Yuxi; Mckee, Martin; Torbica, Aleksandra; Stuckler, David
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11565/4023441
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