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Facebook Fails To Control Misinformation As Cancer Patients Overwhelmed With Ads Related To Unproven Treatments

Facebook is at the center of another major controversy as the platform is being called out again for failing to combat misinformation. And this time around, it’s serious because cancer patients are being bombarded with ads relating to unproven treatments.

The news comes despite the company claiming they’re working hard at combating the issue which has been a growing concern for years. But the fact that it’s related to the health sector and there are ads that go as far as mentioning that a certain drug or herbal substance can cure their disease without any proven evidence is just beyond shocking for some.

If you happen to be an avid user of Facebook or Instagram, we bet you’ve come across plenty of sponsored links from the Ad Library of Meta. And these are getting notorious for doing nothing but promoting false information with their target audience being cancer survivors.

The news is really alarming and with so much evidence to back up the claims, we can see why the matter is being raised now more than ever. Imagine feeling terrible and then being given hope that a certain miracle can cure your condition but in reality, that’s far from the truth.

And to make matters worse, some ads remain unchallenged for months before they’re actually removed and until then, you’ll see Facebook profiting from them.

One oncology expert referred to the trending ‘cancer diet therapy’ as one that’s nothing short of ridiculous and untrue. He bashed Meta for making quick bucks at the expense of vulnerable individuals and hoped the firm would take notice sooner now than later.

But there is some hope for change as Meta says they’ve removed ads of the sort but cancer patients aren’t convinced. One medical student who also happens to be a cancer survivor says he’s been seeing ads for cancer treatment clinics for as long as he can remember and it’s surprising to note that despite the app releasing new policies to help put a limit on the reach of this information, it’s still as prevalent.

Facebook first announced in 2019 how it would now be treating health misinformation as spam after a massive measles outbreak was witnessed in the US. And then when we were blasted with the COVID-19 pandemic, the company further tightened its policies.

There are also some reports being made by health researchers about how alarming it is to see Facebook flagging misinformation and then removing it from their platform, only to go about re-adding it months later.

The University of Washington has recently pointed out how most misleading ads are never restricted to just Facebook only. They tend to scan the surfaces of various other sites and networks and even go as far as linking them to these places.

A researcher by the name of Johnson from the University of Washington says that data collected between 2017 to 2019 tend to get greater engagement from social media and the fact that every one in three articles is harmful is mind-blowing.


H/T: Technology Review

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