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YouTube Breeding Harmful Scientific Misinformation

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the playing-to-the-emotions dept.

The Internet 816

Invisible Pink Unicorn writes "University of Toronto researchers have uncovered widespread misinformation in videos on YouTube related to vaccination and immunization. In the first-ever study of its kind, they found that over half of the 153 videos analyzed portrayed childhood, HPV, flu and other vaccinations negatively or ambiguously. They also found that videos highly skeptical of vaccinations received more views and better ratings by users than those videos that portray immunizations in a positive light. According to the lead researcher, 'YouTube is increasingly a resource people consult for health information, including vaccination. Our study shows that a significant amount of immunization content on YouTube contradicts the best scientific evidence at large. From a public health perspective, this is very concerning.' An extract from the Journal of the American Medical Association is available online."

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Big deal (5, Insightful)

wealthychef (584778) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600085)

I don't see why the fact that this misinformation is on youtube is a big deal. It probably just reflects actual public perceptions of science. Educate people, don't act shocked when uneducated people say stupid things.

Re:Big deal (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600205)

Because before YouTube it was harder for the uneducated or misinformed to get an audience, and that limited the damage they could do. What's particularly troubling is how the misinformed get better ratings and more hits than the well informed. Which indicates that if the NIH started posting actual educational videos on YouTube they'd probably just be written off as propaganda from "the man".

It's the blind leading the blind out there. And not only that, they distrust the sighted.

Re:Big deal (4, Funny)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600401)

it was harder for the uneducated or misinformed to get an audience,

Oh? The newspapers cover their every word up to the time when one of them gets elected.

Re:Big deal (3, Insightful)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600547)

You left off the "...and the words of the politician support the agenda of the newspaper".
What we've got to do is get past the assertion that we can automatically delegate thought to other people based upon criteria such as age, office, net worth, attractiveness, eloquence, etc.

Re:Big deal (2, Insightful)

darjen (879890) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600457)

From TFA:

Of those videos, a staggering 45 per cent contained messages that contradict the 2006 Canadian Immunization Guide
The main link seems to be a little scarce as to exactly what information is contradicting. And it would be helpful if the article itself didn't require JAMA authentication. Not to defend any videos or misinformation, but please excuse me for being a bit skeptical of what the government thinks about medical advice... Does anyone honestly believe that politicians know what is best for our health? Or that they care one whit about what is in our best interest?

Doomed i tell you doomed! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21600511)

Yes yes, before the internet everyone was a nuclear rocket neurosurgeon. It started with idiots shouting on street corners, sometime around the signing of the Magna Carta they started getting involved in government, then there was that fucking printing press, books, magazines, the boob tube, and now the interwebs (not to be confused with the boob webs which is exactly what it seems). Just remember they used to sell radioactive heavy metal "health tonics" out of magazines, which promptly killed the people who drank it. You're to young to remember the fantastic stupidity of the past and surrounded by people so ingenious you can't imagine it. People are still stupid, but they wear it better now (which I grant isn't saying much).

Re:Big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21600533)

Wait a minute! There's misinformation on the Internet?

Bigger Deal, Journals Suck. (1)

Erris (531066) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600229)

Journals that don't share their information should not complain when people are ignorant. The abstract does not convince me of anything other than four MDs spent some time looking at YouTube and fear people will use YouTube as a substitute for their doctor.

Next article, Insurance Company Complains that People Can't Afford the Doctor and Cost too Much to Make Well.

Mainstream medicine and paywalls (5, Insightful)

dmarti (6587) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600333)

What do you expect, when medical titles such as JAMA (where this appeared, but they won't show it to you, neener neener) and the Massachusetts Medical Society's New England Journal of Medicine are behind expensive paywalls, and the quackery gets the full search engine optimization treatment?

If mainstream MDs and researchers care about getting their point of view out to patients, so that people who find out they have a disease don't have to learn about it from YouTube, spam, and pharmaceutical company sites, they're going to have to start using more Open Access journals or get their existing journals to go Open Access.

Re:Big deal (2, Funny)

kharri1073 (1036550) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600391)

If it's on the internet, it HAS to be true!

Re:Big deal? Sort of... (2, Interesting)

motek (179836) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600397)

I can't be sure of that, but I have an impression you somehow suggest these researchers blame youtube. It isn't so - or at least TFA doesn't say anything of the sort. Rather, they simply state the facts.

My interpretation of these facts is that the general public is uneducated, panicky and superstitious. And, more importantly, it has been like that all along. It was just that superstition and dubious reasoning never had a forum that powerful. And now, it is all for everybody to see and appreciate. The famous(?) SF author Lem is reputed to say: before the Internet, I had no idea how many idiots were out there.

Re:Big deal (1)

GreggBz (777373) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600429)

Exactly.
Best book [amazon.com] I ever read. Summed up, it feels good to think your privy to secret knowledge, to expose alleged conspiracy and to dream of the fantastic.
But just because something feels nice does not make it so.

So much of this can be combated with a foundation in the scientific method and skeptical inquiry. They try to make that the corner stone of 6th grade science education, but it's forgotten by the time you get to the 11th grade. I'd like to see it reinforced all the way through college.

It's still good however, that someone is pointing out some of the non-sense on youtube.

Re:Big deal (1)

jockeys (753885) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600489)

This just in: YouTube users are dumb. Film at 11.

Natural Selection (5, Insightful)

spleen_blender (949762) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600089)

I'm not one to support eugenics, but... this might be nature's way of working out its own kinks.

Re:Natural Selection (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21600243)

To see kinks on youtube, you have to register and confirm you're an adult. :P

Not with immunization (-1)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600469)

Infection diseases strike individuals, yes, but they thrive or die on a population. If everyone around you is immunized, but you are not, there is ZERO BENEFIT to you getting immunized. All you're doing is taking the risk that you'll actually get the disease. That's how it was at the end of polio. The only cases of polio were the ones caused by the immunization.

Re:Natural Selection (2, Funny)

MyDixieWrecked (548719) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600521)

Did you know you can fertilize your lawn with used motor oil?

Re:Natural Selection (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21600613)

Did you know scientific research shows that oil spills keep baby seals soft and supple?

WTF? (5, Interesting)

Elemenope (905108) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600095)

Who is stupid enough to go to Youtube for authoritative information about anything? I mean, I get why people might use something like Wikipedia for this (with all the pitfalls that can bring), but this just plain does not make sense to me.

Re:WTF? (1)

RelliK (4466) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600177)

Probably the same people who think vaccination is eeevil. But then, if you get your health information from youtube, you deserve the darwin award. So I see no problem.

Re:WTF? (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600361)

The pro-vaccination group needs to get the message out that despite being a net positive, there are some downsides too, that there is an occasional bad reaction or undesirable side effects. Everyone's biology is a little different from the next person, and the person that gets a bad reaction is less likely to want to get another one, despite their net positive benefit.

Re:WTF? (1)

phasm42 (588479) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600527)

Probably the same people who think vaccination is eeevil. But then, if you get your health information from youtube, you deserve the darwin award. So I see no problem.
Where this gets interesting is when you have idiot adults making decisions for their children.

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21600207)

Who is stupid enough to go to Youtube for authoritative information about anything? I mean, I get why people might use something like Wikipedia for this (with all the pitfalls that can bring), but this just plain does not make sense to me.

Most of the normal people?

Re:WTF? (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600227)

Who is stupid enough to go to Youtube for authoritative information about anything?


I don't know, but it strikes as a on par in dumbness as going to Bill Gates for help on setting up and securing your Linux box.

Re:WTF? (2, Funny)

Intron (870560) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600379)

"Who is stupid enough to go to Youtube for authoritative information about anything?"

Both the Republican and Democratic parties?

scientists starting to post their talks on utube (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600529)

I see more and more conference talks copied to utube, or video adendums to published scientific papers.

Not just Vaccination, also Evolution (2, Insightful)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600099)

We have to remember there is a large sub-culture in the US/Canada and Europe who still think that evolution is a myth, and the world was created 6,000 years ago.

They make YouTube videos as well.

Just because they can use tech doesn't mean they grok tech.

Re:Not just Vaccination, also Evolution (1)

sobolwolf (1084585) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600153)

Yeah I know, damn ignorant zealots! btw what does Grok mean...?

Re:Not just Vaccination, also Evolution (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600245)

btw what does Grok mean...?

Grok - to understand. It's techspeak.

Re:Not just Vaccination, also Evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21600321)

Did you even hear that whooshing sound?

Re:Not just Vaccination, also Evolution (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600275)

"Grok" is geek jargon for "thoroughly understand." It comes from Stranger in a Strange Land by Heinlein.

And speaking of "damn ignorant [people]," by the way, you could have found that out via a quick search. ; )

Re:Not just Vaccination, also Evolution (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600433)

btw what does Grok mean...?

"To understand deeply", a neologism introduced by Robert Heinlein in his book Stranger in a Strange Land [amazon.com] .

Re:Not just Vaccination, also Evolution (1, Informative)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600323)

Okay, I'm feeding the trolls. I know I'm not supposed to, but I wish I had mod points instead.

"We have to remember there is a large sub-culture in the US/Canada and Europe who still think that evolution is a myth, and the world was created 6,000 years ago."

What the HELL does this have to do with Vaccinations? I know plenty of Atheist who don't like vaccinations either, because they don't trust the science that is performed for profit. This has NOTHING to do with Evolution or Bible believers, but is a snide comment. Hope you're happy in your smugness.

Re:Not just Vaccination, also Evolution (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600609)

There are plenty of people who are against the government using force to make people give their children vaccinations. It's not even a religious issue for them, purely idealogical/political in those cases. They may even agree with the science behind it, but do not agree with the government's methods for gaining wide adoption.

Re:Not just Vaccination, also Evolution (0)

zulater (635326) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600335)

I've never understood why science is so 'open minded' about things except when it comes to evolution being wrong. We must remember that evolution is historical science and we cannot test/repeat what has happened in the past. Remember science has been wrong about human ancestors in the past and has had to change its stance on them but operational science has very rarely changed. We build upon operational science to put men in space and on the moon and develop these vaccinations but historical science is guess work based on what we can observe today and then try and apply to the past assuming things were like they are now. Operational science has never disproved creation or evolution. Historical science depends on your presuppositions as to how you interpret the data. Don't forget evolutionists and creationists are looking at the same data and applying it to their respective presuppositions. We can observe natural selection in process today and I've never heard a creationist deny natural selection but natural selection is not the same thing as grand scale molecules to man evolution. It's thought as a mechanism by which the weak die and the strong survive not how information is added to the genome.

Experimental evolution (1)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600629)

We must remember that evolution is historical science and we cannot test/repeat what has happened in the past.

How ironic. I just put this [homeunix.net] up this morning. Back in the mid-1990s, just for fun, I reimplemented Tierra [wikipedia.org] ('ancestor' to Avida [wikipedia.org] ) myself, and I detailed the results I found. Finally converted it to HTML. Source code is there, too, if you want to play with it. Vanilla ANSI C, should run on practically anything/

Basically, you've got little programs that compete to survive. No other fitness function, just: do they reproduce? You get parasites, optimization, and other such things. The little suckers figured out features of the instruction set I implemented that I hadn't thought of.

Re:Not just Vaccination, also Evolution (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600639)

Blasphemy!

So.. (2)

daninspokane (1198749) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600105)

A study found mis-information... on.. the internet...? Where's the shocker here?

Re:So.. (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600221)

I wonder if the same study found any videos using a wiki as their source...

Re:So.. (1)

daninspokane (1198749) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600513)

I feel the need to "LOL" at that comment. If only I had mod points...

t3h internets (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600131)

Unfortunately, like many other places on the web, it's prime for disinformation -- not necessarily from mischievious glac elves, but religious nuts, bigots, etc.

We must be cautious.

Getting what you deserve... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21600133)

If you go to YouTube to get scientific information concerning your own health you deserve exactly what you get. And hopefully the rest of the human race will also get what they deserve.

You'll die from having the wrong information and the collective gene pool will get just a little bit cleaner.

Re:Getting what you deserve... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21600297)

Hmm... yeah, a lot of people seem to think so.

Of course, they're talking about childhood vaccinations. In other words, it's not about someone going to YouTube to get information about his or her own health; rather, it's about whether parents are using YouTube as a source of information in making decisions about their childrens' health.

Which perhaps has more meaning to you, unless I suppose you're so bent on social darwinism that you want children to suffer and die for their parents' stupidity?

Re:Getting what you deserve... (1)

BiloxiGeek (872377) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600553)

Not that I agree 100% with the "social darwinism" here, but since the parents are the stupid ones, it would stand to reason that their children inherited their intelligence. So the original idea still works, just delayed by one generation.

Not Quite (1)

doublem (118724) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600307)

In this case it'll be the _kids_ who die because they didn't get their shots.

My kids however WILL get their shots, which means while the kids of misinformed, ignorant morons are dying of measles, my kids will be be in school, walking around immune to the diseases decimating their classmates.

It'll probably give them a God Complex.

Re:Getting what you deserve... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600531)

Agreed. On top of letting the dolts kill themselves with YouTube [d|m]isnformation, I think we should also eliminate all warning labels. If you're stupid enough to use your hairdryer in the shower because there doesn't happen to be any label on it telling you that it is dangerous, then you deserve to get electrocuted.

Furthermore, we should all start spreading disinformation about other dangerous stuff, too:

Like, did you know that they're lying to you when they say seatbelts save lives? Why, my cousin didn't wear his seatbelt, was in an accident and lived! And a friend of mine was in an accident, wasn't wearing a seatbelt and he died!

or:

Hey, they're lying when they say sniffing paint fumes is dangerous! I do it all the time and look how smart I am!

Sound like a plan?

Re:Getting what you deserve... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600571)

Like, did you know that they're lying to you when they say seatbelts save lives? Why, my cousin didn't wear his seatbelt, was in an accident and lived! And a friend of mine was in an accident, wasn't wearing a seatbelt and he died!
s/wasn't/was

Re:Getting what you deserve... (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600541)

Good to know ignorance is now a capital offense.

You've got it coming... (5, Insightful)

Erwos (553607) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600141)

You honestly have to wonder how people can make super-important decisions for their children and themselves using _YouTube_ as their main provider of information. It's sad, but it's just like all those folks getting burned on their million dollar homes with sub-primes - you made a bad decision because you didn't do enough research, and you should be the one paying the price.

You are simply never going to protect all the stupid people from themselves, and making the effort often only punishes the smart people who didn't make those mistakes. That's the unfortunate realization I've come to in my adulthood.

Re:You've got it coming... (2, Insightful)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600215)

you made a bad decision because you didn't do enough research, and you should be the one paying the price.

Except these people are harming thier children, not themselves.

Re:You've got it coming... (1)

Erwos (553607) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600261)

That's their right to some extent. Parents should and do have tremendous latitude in making decisions for their children. But we can help the kids more by informing the parents of the science involved, not by getting a nanny state involved.

Re:You've got it coming... (2, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600367)

Somebody mod this guy up.

Here's something else I'd like to point out: Youtube merely puts out in the open what people think at home. Stupidity that used to be restricted to friends and family is now out in the open for all to see.

Re:You've got it coming... (1)

neoform (551705) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600371)

Until nows I learnded everithing I know froms Lolcat. Nowe yor telling me youtubs is a bad teacher too?

Oo! O'Reilly factor is on, BBL.

I can't help but think... (2, Insightful)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600149)

I can't help but think that it could only help the gene pool if the type of people who would think "hey, let's go look up important medical information on YouTube!" were given bad medical advice. Darwinism and all that.

(Except, of course, that this is more about misinformed parents harming their children. But still - I can't imagine why anyone would think "hey, I wanna find out more about immunization on YouTube!" I suppose they could be starting on a search engine and winding up at YouTube. But that ruins the joke.)

Natural Selection At Its Finest (3, Funny)

Thansal (999464) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600169)

Seriously.

Those people that go to YOUTUBE for HEALTH ADVICE?

Kind of like the age old:
Mr. Idiot has joined #IRC
Idiot: Hey guys, I hate this stuff 2 hours ago and my eyes are starting to turn green, any ideas?
IRC1: Go to a Dr.
IRC2: Go to a Dr.
IRC3: Go to a Dr.
IRC4: Call poison control THEN go to a Dr.
IRC5: Take pictures and post them for us!

Who does Mr. Idiot listen too? IRC5.

Let em die.

(no, I am not ACTUALLY suggesting eugenics by not educating these idiots, it is just tempting)

Re:Natural Selection At Its Finest (1)

Thansal (999464) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600219)

Sigh.

"ate". not "hate".

Re:Natural Selection At Its Finest (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600375)

Given it's an irc channel, I would have expected 'i 8 this stuf 2 hrs ago'...

Re:Natural Selection At Its Finest (3, Funny)

idontgno (624372) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600269)

the only thing sillier is folks who go to lolcat websites [wikipedia.org] for their medical information and advice.

"I CAN HAS VAXINASHUNZ?"

Re:Natural Selection At Its Finest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21600293)

You might not endorse eugenics but I sure do...

I for one welcome our eugenics spreading youtube overlords.

Funny you mention this (5, Interesting)

wamerocity (1106155) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600175)

ON my medical application, I coined the new word "Google-gnosis" describing the problem with people self-diagnosing based on information found on the internet, making the point that Doctors are now going to have to make more of an effort to know what information and misinformation is out there, and how Doctors are going to have to spend more time teaching people correct information to dispel popular myths that get spread around. This is case in point for me. Maybe I should bring this up in my next interview...

Re:Funny you mention this (1)

BorgCopyeditor (590345) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600437)

This is not some new internet-based phenomenon. 20 years ago, it was people hypochondriacs rifling through the DSM or the Physicians Desk Reference (big book of pills)

Re:Funny you mention this (2, Interesting)

wamerocity (1106155) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600591)

Yes, but there is a big difference. One is that people are making choices based on INCORRECT information, while the situation you described above describes people making incorrect assumptions with correct information. If I read a book and think that I might have cancer when I don't - only psychological harm done. But If I have cancer and my friend thinks that I just have toxins in me and I just need to do a colon flush or take some chinese herbal meds, then there's a huge problem. I doubt many of these videos are people just looking to increase their overall wellness. These are people who think that they shouldn't vaccinate their children! Big difference in the possible harm that can be done.

Sheesh (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600183)

Well, duh. Why would I produce a video and/or watch a video that says something mainstream that everyone already knows? That's not news. I'm going to produce something that is different from the norm. And people are going to gravitate toward videos that tell them something they don't already know.

Vaccinations (1, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600189)

I have a simple question .....

Do you trust Pharmaceutical Companies to give you all the information you need to make an intelligent decision?

Personally, I don't trust any of them.

Re:Vaccinations (2, Insightful)

caldaan (583572) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600351)

Absolutely,

Especially when they continue to use mercury based preservatives in any vaccine, let alone one given to babies and small children. There have been studies that have shown the rise in autism directly linked to the rise in the use of mercury in vaccines in 3rd world countries. The reason why JAMA is technically right is because the pharmaceutical companies sure as hell aren't going to fund research that takes their product off the market.

While pharmaceutical companies do make life sustaining drugs, trusting a corporation to protect anything but its bottom line is fool hearty at best.

Re:Vaccinations (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600373)

I trust them about as much as I trust random yahoos on Youtube. That's why it's important to do real research on your own, with peer reviewed journals and everything. Or use some common sense and a little bit of research, that usually works too.

Re:Vaccinations (1)

LordNor (605816) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600475)

I completely agree! Sick people equal profits, healthy people don't. Yes, they are that evil...

If you look at accurate data in the past, the death rate from most illnesses that there are vaccinations for dropped by 90% before the vaccines were released. The reduction was mostly attributed to a more healthy diet. (This is a true healthy diet and not what the media promotes. I'd love to see the science behind the "eat fat, become fat" theory. Oh that's right, there is none. )

Re:Vaccinations (1)

edisrafeht (1199347) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600567)

You can't trust doctors, either (they just don't keep up with the science). Or farmers and growers and ranchers. And definitely not the FDA, although for the most part they do a good job. Gotta do your homework. I know it's fun to bash science-haters, but it is extremely scientific to question science itself. The vaccine skeptics aren't really science haters (they probably just hate obgyns and peds), they probably know more about vaccines than the average /.'er. The flu one doesn't always work, and companies use mercury as a preservative. You think a parent would want to shoot that into their infant? This is why people want to delay vaccines. A lot of babies just get all sorts of issues with them even though clinical trials may have gone through just fine. While there's still no conclusion on whether vaccines cause autism or not, there is a lot of anecdotal "evidence" to prompt further study. Just because the FDA says it's safe doesn't mean it really is. Some of the audience may be real wackos refusing any sort of modern medicine, but you'd be surprised to learn many well-educated parents are delaying or refusing vaccine. This is because vaccinating very young babies is still a new thing, it hasn't been tried enough, and already we have bad stories going around. It may seem risky to doubt vaccines, but one shot could be all it takes to really screw up a kid. It's a personal decision for all parents. Just wanted you all to know that at least some people doubt vaccines for very good reasons. It's not all black-and-white or slashdot-vs-stupidpeople.

Re:Vaccinations (0)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600573)

Oh yeah? How do we know that YOU are correct? Maybe we SHOULD trust Pharmaceutical Companies?!?

YouTube = Research ??? (1)

JKSN17 (956518) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600211)

I have never found YouTube to be a key stop on my information gathering process. I'm sorry but watching some idiot talk about electricity and how it works, then having his buddy traser him to demonstrate does really stand out as good science. It looks more like stupidity. All be it funny.

This affects us all (1)

KORfan (524397) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600249)

At first my reaction was that people who get medical information on YouTube deserve what they get. Then the light went on. They're getting bad information about vaccinations. That means they won't get immunized, and that behavior leads to outbreaks of illnesses and epidemics. It can put a lot of us at risk.

Misinformation about science bothers me in general as well.

Think of it.. (2, Funny)

AJWM (19027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600253)

..as evolution in action.

(see also "Darwin Awards")

Re:Think of it.. (1)

OS24Ever (245667) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600325)

While watching Idiocracy it was hard not to wonder if I was watching a documentary from the future or a work of fiction.

The problem with evolution is it just takes too long.

Hopefully not mixing real news into the evidence (1)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600277)

Hopefully they aren't including videos such as this one [youtube.com] in the group that portray vaccines in a negative light.

Natural selection at work (1, Informative)

Xocet_00 (635069) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600283)

Seriously, if you're going to NOT get vaccinated for something as a result of having watched a YouTube video, then it's probably better for humanity if you increase your risk of being removed from the gene pool.

To quote bash.org:

" The problem with America is stupidity. I'm not saying there should be a capital punishment for stupidity, but why don't we just take the safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?"

Re:Natural selection at work (1)

NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600381)

Unfortunately, (as I understand it) if enough people decide not to vaccinate their children, the "herd immunity" can fail, and the disease(s) in question can propagate. Then those stupid people are putting everybody at risk, not just themselves and their own offspring. If anybody more knowledgeable about immunology could share their take on that, I'd be interested to hear it.

Re:Natural selection at work (1)

Tsiangkun (746511) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600477)

Seriously, if you're going to NOT get vaccinated for something as a result of having watched a YouTube video, then it's probably better for humanity

It's actually better for humanity if everyone gets the immunizations.

Having more people carry diseases and illnesses does not benefit humanity. This leads to environments where diseases flourish, mutate, and potentially render the immunizations the rest of society received useless.

Re:Natural selection at work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21600641)

I disagree. How did humanity survive many hundreds of thousands of years before medical technology and vaccines?

Immunizations are great at keeping you alive, but they confer no genetic benefit to future generations. In the past, humans who had some random mutation to survive an epidemic were the ones who survived and passed their genes on to future populations, while those who didn't simply died.

Its amazing for a group of people who are so pro-evolution that they wouldn't understand something so fundamental as this.

Take a Large Group of People... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21600309)

...enable them to post their opinions on the internet, and what do you get?

Slashdot?

you Fail It (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21600311)

many of us are something that you Satan's Dick And number of FrreBSD is also a miserable Formed his own

Maybe so.... or not (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21600317)

Of course, as we all know the medical/pharmaceutical industries will always play down risks associated with vaccines (which there are many, as is well documented).

I think this isn't so much proof of ignorance, but rather evidence that the "average" American actually has doubts about what we're being told and injected with.
And I can't blame anyone one bit for feeling that way.

Holy 8mm cameras batman.... (2, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600337)

Someone has the nerve to complain about the scientific quality of information found on YouTube??? WTF All I can say is these people haven't been watching much of anything from Hollywood or from mainstream news media. Here, again, we have the opportunity to show that teaching and guidance are required for just about EVERYTHING in life, and that includes what to believe of what you hear/read/and see. Check your source, get a second opinion, buyer beware, you get what you pay for. Seems like all that crazy old s**T that grandpa used to say might have some truth to it? hmmm

I'm willing to bet that at least one of these concerned researchers went to a school where he was told that masturbation will make him crosseyed or make him go blind. Misinformation has been around since the advent of spoken language, and possibly before. It was only relatively recently that we all agreed (well most of us) that the earth is round.

It is not medical information that needs to be filterd, or the fscking Internet... we need to teach people how to get through life without falling prey to every scam and rumor that falls into their world. I remember recently the many people who recommended Chantix to me to help me stop smoking... Guess what Mr smart research scientists.. they were doctors and experts, and I had no reason to not believe them till people started having psychotic episodes and killing themselves.

Lets all just sing in 3 part harmony about the evils of not educating your kids, the public, your friends, and the world in general. The problem is not that there is misleading information out there, the problem is that people are so willing to be mislead.

While we are on subject... ehh, people who are willing to be mislead are also willing to believe that the government's "need" to encroach on their rights is necessary. An EDUCATED public is a strong one, but that is hardly what big business and big government want.

Educate people in general, not on just one little danger. Teach a man to fish..... nuff said

Article makes a HUGE assumption (4, Insightful)

goldspider (445116) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600365)

What makes these "researchers" think that people are coming to YouTube for medical advice? I'd bet that a lot (if not most) people are watching these videos for the absurd entertainment value they provide.

It's one thing to simply count hits. It's quite another to infer the reason(s) behind them.

Re:Article makes a HUGE assumption (1)

SlappyBastard (961143) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600623)

Good point. It's no different than the stuff about reptilians controlling the world or kids getting hit by cars while doing skateboard tricks.

Re:Article makes a HUGE assumption (1)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600647)

More likely they are doing it simply to reinforce their preconceptions, which wouldn't be so bad if they didn't have kids upon whom to inflict their insanity. They could also be searching for more information on Kevin Trudeau's bullshit and come across YouTube videos supporting his claims. By then, they're just two steps away from becoming another Kool Aid Casualty (KAC). Again, not necessarily a bad thing, except idiots are allowed to reproduce.

boundless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21600435)

Human stupidity knows no bounds, but getting health advice from youtube?
In the good old days, when i was just a wee lad, and delivering the newspaper with my bike,
or selling home made onion juice, or whatever, those things tended to correct itself.
The gene pool weeded itself out. Now with the government prescribing us, what to eat,
what to wear and keeping us safe all around, except those pesky terrorists, this whole
stupidity-movement grows out of control. Next thing you now, a new bill is passed, banning
any kind of health related statement not made by a certified position.

reliability (1)

Corson (746347) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600439)

in terms of reliability, youtube is no different than those magazines that you can buy at the cash in any superstore accross north america, where you can learn the latest "news" on the lives of hollywood stars and such. who would use that as a reliable source of information? why care at all?

Thin the fucking herd (1)

SlappyBastard (961143) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600443)

If you get health and medical info off YouTube, you deserve all the malaria you can get.

YouTube:A non-authoritative resource for opinions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21600445)

I agree with others that YouTube should not be viewed as an authoritative resource. However, it can be used to get a range of opinions that are not present in a sterile scientific study. Opinions can be just as important as scientific studies in determining a course of action. If a person really wants to know more about the adverse reactions of treatments, they can then seek out the studies showing how 1 in 10,000 instances of treatment X have negative results. YouTube and other personal views are much more accessible to the general public than trying to read a scientific study.

On the flip side of the argument, how many "opinions" voiced on YouTube are actually placed there by pharmaceutical companies under the guise of an impartial opinion. How about the number of people who are being misled by those claims?

In the end, we are all responsible for our own actions. The more information I have to make that decision, the better, as long as the information is weighted appropriately.

Surprise Surprise (1)

kaoshin (110328) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600483)

Aren't youtubers and myspacers and other trendy sitegoers a predominately younger crowd? Whoever could have imagined that teenagers would be rebellious or have posts that conflict with the establishment, I mean that is just unnatural!

Just maybe.... (1)

Soothh (473349) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600509)

Maybe people turn to these resources because we are tired of being lied to by companies and governements that only see profit in making drugs rather than cures?

Flu vaccine (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600543)

All I can say is that both my grandmother and my sister were sick for about two weeks; fever, chills, etc, after getting the flu vaccine this year. Coincidence? Who knows -- I wasn't vaccinated and I trust my immune system to beat the flu by itself. That which won't kill it will only make it stronger...

-b.

Kinda Vague (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21600549)

Although this is being reported as YouTube users hate vaccination, the actual numbers are less compelling. Quoting the actual study:

We identified and analyzed 153 videos. The weighted statistic for agreement on classification of videos was 0.93. Seventy-three (48%) of the videos were positive, 49 (32%) were negative, and 31 (20%) were ambiguous

As to whether YouTube videos contain misinformation, the actual study was disappointingly vague.

In their statistics, the authors group "contradicts" in with "unsubstantiated". In particular, they apply "unsubstantiated" to claims of particular permanent injury. Well, naturally the reference standard that they're using isn't going to discuss particular claims of permanent injury. Suppose some parent makes a video claiming that his kid got a serious absess from a vaccine, is that "unsubstantiated"?

Even when it comes to "contradicts", the authors are quite vague. For example, "Frequently causes serious adverse events" is listed as contradicting the reference standard. The problem is, when it comes to making medical decisions, both "frequently" and "serious" are subjective. Is it "serious" if a child develops permanent scarring at the site of injection? If a child develops permanent scarring in 1/10 cases, is that "frequent".

Finally, the authors of the study claim that YouTube users are more interested in the videos that make the negative claims. Well, sure, if the medical establishment only provides information about the upsides of vaccination then people are going to look elsewhere for information about the downsides. To the extent that there is a problem with misinformation about vaccines on YouTube (and the authors don't exactly make an airtight case), the solution is for the medical establishment to be honest - if the medical establishment provides accurate information about the risks of vaccines then YouTube won't have to.

Just because they have higher viewer numbers... (1)

TwoEdge77 (92704) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600551)

does not lead to a conclusion that viewers are actually using the information. It may just be that the negative medical videos are MORE funny.

peer-reviewed sites linked to utube (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600577)

Its the same as early WWW days. Eventually "authoritative" sites will emerge with links to utabe-like sites as video-servers. Anyone who searches the video server directly, without review, is askign for trouble.

Not surprising at all. (3, Interesting)

phorest (877315) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600595)

I'll spout some anecdotal evidence, though YMMV.
Being an old-timer, I can tell you that when I went to school all we had were polio vaccinations and tetanus. Out of a class of about 200 kids, 1 in 25 may have had bizarre allergies, (milk, grass, wheat, eggs etc.) Now it seems that most kids have some type of allergy or asthma, yet we live in such sterile times. It's not hard to conclude/perceive that something happened in the 70's and beyond. Was it in the vaccinations?

It's probably very easy for a lot of trepidation about vaccines because of past experience, anecdotal it may very-well be, however it does not help when polititians, school boards, professional organizations (AMA) AND big drugcos all gang up and require new vaccines mandatory as soon as the trial period is complete. I'm glad I don't have children in school (or children at all for that matter). I'd be leery too. (hope my tinfoil hat isn't showing)

Do you get the flu shot every year? That's a vaccine. Do you realize it's a crap-shoot as to whether -or- not it will even be effective against the "projected strain" the powers that be are pushing? I thought not.

No wonder a good portion of society distrust vaccines in general.


Now, get off my lawn.

yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21600603)

"YouTube is increasingly a resource people consult for health information, including vaccination."

Hilarious.

This will keep hapening (5, Insightful)

niloroth (462586) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600607)

Sadly, this will continue to happen for a lot of reasons, but mostly, like all conspiracy theories, it actually is comforting to believe that a shadowy world government is in charge. Or to think that the reason people are autistic, or get cancer, is because of vaccines. It lets people know that there are reasons for otherwise random events, events that could happen to them any day now, or to those they love. But if you can have something concrete to blame it on, instead of just the randomness and uncertainty of life, well, then you can get angry at whatever tangible entity you want.

And things like youtube are perfect for the type of disinfo that these theories represent. The question now is how do we counter these claims? I would highly suggest listening to the Skepticality podcast ( http://www.skepticality.com/p_listentopast.php [skepticality.com] )ablout the documentary Flock of Dodos. The main theme is a discussion about how real science needs to learn to present its information and findings in a far more entertaining and easily digestible format. Just throwing facts and numbers at people, while it makes me happy, turns off the majority.

This is kind of like the whole 9/11 truth issue. People who have seen the conspiracy videos on youtube can be almost immune to evidence about physics, metallurgy, demolitions, and such. Their eyes just glaze over when you try to use facts and numbers and evidence. But if you point them towards a source like http://www.youtube.com/user/RKOwens4 [youtube.com] which is comprised of simple arguments against the 9/11 truth theories, in easy to understand 3 minute chapters, then you start to make headway.

This is the course science must take with the public. Like it or not. The alternative is far to dangerous.

Well Doctors aren't 100% a good choice either (1)

Digestromath (1190577) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600611)

Don't forget, that doctors aren't necessarily a 100% good choice either. Doctors do make mistakes in diagnosis. Plus the healthcare industry dips its hand in there to muddy the water as well.

Of course does that mean I would go to god damn YouTube to figure out which or even if vaccinations are a good choice? Not god damn likely. Bob's homepage for self diagnosis of terminal Hyperkeratinization? Wikipedia even? No.

I would go consult at least a couple of medical professionals, or respectable peer reviewed literature before trying to make an informed decision.

Then again... maybe people should get their health information of YouTube. Might cull the herd, weed the genetic garden, skim off the gene pool, maybe cleanse the stains off our collective genetic sleeveless undershirt.

Educaction (1)

nerdacus (1161321) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600645)

This is a matter of education. I think a large section of the population think vaccinations are unnecessary in this day and age, and have no inkling of what would befall us if vaccinations stopped. Even now, the majority of the population needs to be vaccinated for things that rarely appear, or they will resurface in force. This fact is either unknown to many Americans, or is disputed outright due to ignorance and lack of education on the subject. We need to address the problem at its root, by teaching people about the subject, at least minimally.

It wouldn't hurt, however, for pharmaceutical companies to stop using questionable ingredients in their vaccines. Just the other day my daughter was denied a flu vaccination at the drugstore because their brand of vaccine contained mercury or something crazy like that. She had to go to her pediatrician where they have vaccines for kids. Perhaps there is some really good reason why they need to put mercury in vaccines, but aside from some financial reason, I can't see what that might be. My daughter was able to get a vaccine that had nothing "bad" in it, so it's obviously not strictly necessary. Crazy stuff like this only adds fuel to the ignorance, doubt and distrust surrounding the growing trend of people not getting vaccinated.

On an aside, my young daughter cried when she couldn't get her vaccination at first. She loves getting shots. I had to laugh, because she's probably the only kid in the world to get that broken up about not getting a shot (they had to forcefully pin me down to get shots when I was her age). But at the same time, it made me a little verklempt that she really gets it, even at her young age. Why can't so many grown adults understand?
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