Beware social media quacks

Monday February 24 2020

 

With the mainstream media becoming increasingly out of reach, quacks and other self-styled healers have found the perfect platform from which to bombard the public with messages of supposedly magical cures – social media.

Social media platforms are now teeming with people advertising all manner of concoctions said to permanently cure anything from Aids, hypertension, diabetes, complicated urinary tract infections, chronic malaria to erectile dysfunction. They do this free of charge, and reach much wider audiences than they would through traditional media such as newspapers, radio and television from which they have essentially been blocked.

The nature of the Internet means that it is well-nigh impossible for the relevant authorities to control the dissemination and flow of such information. The result is that people who are supposed to get urgent medical attention and be provided with proven medication go after concoctions advertised on social media instead.

The most effective way to counter this development is to provide accurate information and education through the same media that has in recent years been used to great effect by quacks and others of that ilk. This should be done sooner rather than later.