Misinformation on social media has become a pervasive problem in this day and age. Social media has become extremely popular nowadays, with approximately 4.2 billion active social media users worldwide (as of January 2021). Social media has transformed the way we communicate and how easily accessible information has become. However, the power of social media also comes with significant challenges and risks where it comes to discerning accurate information. Misinformation and fake news can spread quickly on social media, and potentially causing harm to individuals who did not do the right research. In this article, we will be discussing how to navigate information on social media in order to harbour its full potential. We will also be discussing some strategies to help you differentiate accurate and misleading content online.
Risks of Misinformation About Skincare and Skin Treatments on Social Media
How many times have you heard someone saying that toothpaste is great at treating acne? One too many times, right! If you know how using toothpaste on the skin can potentially cause a chemical burn, you probably would not turn to this method as an acne treatment. But someone who does not know this risk can end up with a nasty burn that can very likely even be more troublesome to treat! If using toothpaste on the skin is considered to be a “small issue”, imagine what other crazier things people are resorting to because they do not have accurate information?
Misinformation about skincare and skin treatments on social media can have a significant impact on people, especially when it comes to their physical health and self-esteem. Misinformation can lead to unrealistic expectations and harmful practices. It can also harm an individual’s self-esteem and the reputation of legitimate professionals.
Doing Our Due Diligence in Research on Social Media
It is extremely important that we do our due diligence when it comes to research on social media. Social media has blessed us with a vast amount of information with just a simple search. But with great power comes great responsibility! It is critical to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information we consume and share.
Here are some ways that we can protect ourselves from misinformation and prejudice:
1. Verify the Source
Verifying that the source of where this information is coming from is reputable, legitimate, and trustworthy is extremely helpful. Look for sources that have a history and reputation of providing accurate and credible information.
Fact-check any information you find on social media to ensure that it is, in fact (no pun intended), accurate. Use reliable sources to confirm the information. Research papers and studies are examples of sources that can be very helpful.
3. Look for Multiple Sources
Double, triple, quadruple check your information against multiple sources. Often or not, people develop a bias. Checking information against multiple sources will help to make sure that your information is not biased.
4. Evaluate the Context
Evaluate the context in which the information is being presented. Consider what is the motivation, potential biases, and overall message that the source is trying to convey.
5. Consider the Timing
Consider the timing of when the information is being published. Is this information current or outdated? Are there new studies out there to back up or debunking this information? Outdated information may no longer be relevant or accurate, so be sure to check!
6. Use Critical Thinking
This may seem really obvious for some, but it might not be for everyone. Use your common sense! Use your critical thinking skills to evaluate the information. Does this make sense? Are there evidence to support this?
7. Consult an Expert
If you are still confused, or if all else fails, consult a professional. Experts get their opinion and insights on studies and research papers. This is will be very helpful in helping you to understand your question(s) at hand.
Social media is a powerful tool that has the potential to provide us with crazy amounts of information. But social media can also be a breeding ground for misinformation. Let us be critical with the information that is being fed to us on social media by conducting due diligence when research online. This involves verifying sources, fact-checking, looking for multiple sources, evaluating the context, considering timing, using critical thinking, and getting an expert’s opinion. If you need help finding guidance, you can click here for the opinion of skincare experts, and here for a doctor’s opinion. Happy researching!