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Facebook plans to double down on sensational or misleading health-related content

We missed this earlier. Facebook said that it is looking to reduce the amount of sensational or misleading health-related content and posts promoting products or services based on such posts on users’ newsfeeds in its latest content ranking algorithm update rolled out last month. Facebook’s announcement came after a Wall Street Journal report (paywall) highlighted how the social media site and YouTube were awash with content containing potentially harmful information about alternative cancer treatments. WSJ found out that a supplement salesman Robert O. Young whose Facebook page has more than 60,000 likes and followers, suggested in a post that cancer could be cured with baking soda injections and certain liquid concoctions. It also noted that Young was convicted in a San Diego County court in 2016 for practicing medicine without a license. The report noted that in July 2012, Naima Houder Mohamed who was a cancer patient met Young after having seen his videos on YouTube, but died of metastatic breast carcinoma in November 2012 after Young's treatment that costed $ 70,000. WSJ also found that such widespread misinformation sometimes appeared alongside advertisements, videos or pages for proven treatments. How the update works and how it will affect page reach Facebook’s updated algorithm will determine reducing reach of such posts by identifying commonly used phrases and predicting which posts might include sensational health claims or promotion of products with health-related claims. These posts will then be shown lower in a user’s news feed. Note that Facebook has other options here, apart from showing posts lower in someones…

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