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"Fake news" in dermatology. Results from an observational, cross-sectional study.

Int J Dermatol. 2020 Oct 23;:

Authors: Iglesias-Puzas Á, Conde-Taboada A, Aranegui-Arteaga B, López-Bran E

Abstract
BACKGROUND: Social networks have become a means for disseminating information on health-related matters.
OBJECTIVE: Describe the characteristics and analyze the accuracy of the dermatology content that is most often shared on the most popular social networks.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The content most often shared on social networks (Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Reddit) between March 2019 and March 2020 was analyzed using the keywords: acne, alopecia/hair loss, psoriasis, eczema, melanoma, skin cancer, rash, and rosacea. The total number of interactions, skin disease, topic, and origin was collected from each of the records. The content was analyzed and was categorized as precise, confusing, or imprecise based on the scientific evidence available.
RESULTS: A total of 385 websites were included. About 44.7% of the shared content was rated as imprecise, 20% as confusing, and 35.3% as precise. The records classified as imprecise obtained a higher mean number of interactions (P < 0.05). No differences were found in terms of the level of certainty and the dermatosis studied, whereas they did exist in relation to their topic and origin (P < 0.001). Of the contents classified as imprecise, the most frequent topic and origin were "alternative medicines" and "individual opinions, articles not affiliated with health institutions, nor peer reviewed," respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: The majority of the contents often shared on social networks are below acceptable quality standards. Strategies are needed to discredit imprecise information and promote the dissemination of evidence-based dermatology information.

PMID: 33095467 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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This article is referenced in the post, What is the Butterfly Effect in Rosacea?

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