The widely used social media platform TikTok has taken the world by storm. A lot of information is shared from food recipes, art, and medical advice. Creators are sharing information, and some are going viral.
Now, there is a difference between sharing a video of how to get your cat to drink milk and one that advises people to install their braces. With the right audience, a lot of information can be passed along.
If the information being passed on is wrong, there may be dire consequences. Medical practitioners must continuously debunk misinformation and unprofessionalism for the sake of public health.
Let’s have a quick look at their implications and what you can do about them.
Are Tiktok Medical Videos Fake?
Although not all Tiktoks sharing medical information are fake or untrue, there is equally a huge portion that is relaying wrong and misinformed information to the public.
In addition, users may not be interested in verifying the authenticity of the information on a viral video.
What are the Implications of Spreading Fake News?
Following viral and unverified medical advice from Tiktok may cause severe health side effects, with the worst leading to death.
Viral videos on the platform tend to advise users to take an overdose amount for a condition if no results are seen. The videos are usually short and with instant edited results that assure users the methods work.
This is very dangerous as each individual is different, and a health practitioner should prescribe any medicine after diagnosis.
Long-term Side Effects
The viral videos may advise people to try out a certain drug without considering any allergies or pre-existing conditions. Without this knowledge, users who try out the trends may be affected by long-term side effects because they unknowingly took drugs that are not recommended.
In the most severe cases, a viral video can lead to death. There have been videos that promote anorexia and advocate for sleeping long hours to avoid eating. Such challenges can cause dehydration and ultimately lead to death.
It is a worrying trend as a large part of the demographic on Tiktok are young people who are quick to follow these trends.
What Should Healthcare Experts Do?
Given that all the viral videos presenting all the medical misinformation are on platforms used by a significant number of people, doctors should also debunk the information on the same platform and others.
Hold Workshops and Seminars
With the increase in virtual workshops since the beginning of the pandemic, healthcare specialists can call for virtual workshops to spread correct information on the viral Tiktoks going around.
Educating the masses on the importance of verifying the information they are fed or consulting a doctor when in doubt will play a huge role in countering the misinformation.
Healthcare specialists can also take part in creating short videos and reacting to the viral videos by incorporating dance and music to make them interesting. By breaking them down into parts and explaining them to the masses with facts will help prevent further damage.
Flag off Wrong Information
Information spreads quickly, and within seconds, thousands of people are affected. Health practitioners in collaboration with app developers can come up with minimum requirements to post medical information.
They can decide that such sensitive information should meet certain standards and be verified by a body to prevent the spread of fake news. If any wrong information is detected, it is blocked from being posted.
This will go a long way in ensuring only authentic information is available and from trusted sources.
Build Virtual Relationships
One of the reasons why medical Tiktok is trending and spreading fake information is because it is believed physicians are largely unavailable. They can take this chance to prove the masses wrong by building trust with the users.
By engaging with the users and addressing areas of concern will build trust and create lasting relationships. Users will not feel the need to follow or seek advice from unverified health practitioners.
Health is a very sensitive issue and should not be taken lightly when misinformation is being spread. Healthcare workers need to ensure only authentic and verified information is available for the sake of public health.
Using the same platform to debunk wrong information can go a long way to provide efficient health care services.