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Can you trust Dr. Google?

Fast Company – “Data scientists say search engines are giving bad health advice Using search engines to ask high-stakes questions about your health can be problematic, according to new research. The digital world is constantly evolving—Facebook is Meta now!—yet internet search remains a magic box where we type questions and answers just appear on the screen. Critics say this disconnect has led to cluttered design, ads camouflaged as search results, even a search algorithm that some say shows signs of wear: ProPublica reporter Jesse Eisinger recently tweeted he thinks Google searches have gotten “significantly worse,” and he got 1,000 likes and nods of agreement from everyone from Chris Hayes to Time national correspondent Molly Ball. A new study out this week looks at this from a different angle: The role of search engines as people’s go-to health advisers. Data scientists from Germany’s Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg and Russia’s Ural Federal University wanted to see how search engines are managing medical misinformation. Given the myths that have circulated since the start of the pandemic, the authors argue it’s more important than ever to promote accurate and credible online health resources. After all, we live in a time when people panic-buy horse dewormer as a COVID-19 cure, and a White House press corps member raves on social media that the vaccines contain “a bioluminescent marker called LUCIFERASE so that you can be tracked.”…

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