Unregulated social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube can pose a health risk to the UK because they are spreading conspiracy theories about coronavirus.
This is the conclusion of a scientific study published in the journal Psychological Medicine, which finds people who get their news from social media are more likely to break the rules lock.
The Kings College London research team suggests social media news sites may need to do more to regulate spurious content.
“One wonders how long this situation can continue while social media platforms continue to provide a medical distribution mechanism across the medical world,” concludes the report.
The study analyzed surveys from across Britain in April and May this year.
People were asked if they thought a number of conspiracy theories regarding Covid-19: that the virus was made in a laboratory, that death and infection figures were manipulated by authorities, that the symptoms were related to 5G radiation or that there is no solid evidence that the virus even exists.
None of these theories has any basis in the verifiable fact.
Those who think such conspiracies were significantly more likely to get their news through the non-regulation of social media. For example, 56% of people who believe there is no solid evidence that coronaviruses exist get a lot of their information from Facebook, compared to 20% of those who reject the conspiracy theory.
Sixty percent of those who believe there is a link between 5G and Covid-19 get a good amount or a great deal of their virus information from YouTube. Only 14% of those who reject the theory are regular YouTube users.
And 45% of people who believe Covid-19 deaths are exaggerated by the authorities getting a lot of their news on the Facebook virus, more than twice as much as 19% of non-believers who say the same thing.
“There is a strong positive relationship between using social media platforms as sources of knowledge about Covid-19 and having one or more belief conspiracies,” the study found. “YouTube has had the strongest association with the belief conspiracy, followed by Facebook. ”
Research also found that people who left home with the possibility of Covid-19 symptoms were more than twice or three times more likely than those who did not get information about the virus from Facebook or from Youtube.
People who admitted that he had family or friends visiting the home are also much more likely to get their information about the social media coronavirus than those who stuck to it by the rules.
Researchers conclude that there is a strong link between belief in conspiracy theories about the virus and risky behavior during restrictions imposed to prevent its spread.
“The conspiracy of beliefs act to inhibit health protective behaviors,” concludes this study, and “the law on social media as a vehicle for such beliefs. ”
The report notes that during misinformation about the Covid-19 was multiplied by conspirator theorist David Icke on ITV and the London local LIVE on TV stations, the UK broadcasting regulator Ofcom is intervened.
ITV said Mr. Icke’s remarks were “ill-judged” and “may challenge viewers of confidence in the advice of public authorities and scientific evidence”. London was fined for content that “had the potential to cause significant harm to viewers”.
YouTube and Facebook also deleted Mr. Icke official channels from their platforms and social networks claim that they have made efforts to bring false information regarding the coronavirus under control.
The study will be captured by those who believe that social media companies like Facebook and YouTube, the owners of Google should do more to control the publication of false information.