We all know the effects that fake news spread by fake accounts can have on society, where people get upset over things that did not happen, while others panic over things that were false. However it seems that fake social media accounts can also have a negative effect on your health, and we don’t mean mental anguish or frustration.

According to research that was done by the Keck School of Medicine at USC, it seems that fake social media accounts can be bad for your health due to the misinformation that it spreads with regards to topics on health, medication, and so on. The study looked at automated bots that have been designed to help promote discussion about specific ideas and products, which when spread could be harmful due to the information potentially being false.

An example was given as to how these bots are similar to celebrities such as Jenny McCarthy who has claimed that vaccinations cause autism, despite it being proven and debunked countless times. Jon-Patrick Allem, lead author of the study said, “We now have measles outbreaks in Southern California because people shared personal stories about how vaccinations reportedly caused their child to have autism.”

“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.” That being said, we have seen efforts by others to try and minimize the impact of fake news, such as by educating the young on how to spot it, as well as labelling posts that might potentially contain false information.

Filed in General. Read more about Health, study and _cold.

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