What Role Should Big Social Media Companies Play In Public Health Issues?
The recent attempts from social media companies to limit antivaccination posts highlights both the struggles of trying to monitor such content and the impact the tech leaders can have on the national conversation. In other health technology news: the limits of artificial intelligence, exposure of personal health information, and a mental health app that can help with loneliness.
The Wall Street Journal:
Next Front In Tech Firms’ War On Misinformation: Bad Medical Advice
Pinterest has stopped returning search results for terms relating to vaccinations, a drastic step aimed at curbing the spread of misinformation but one that also reflects the challenge facing social-media companies in monitoring hot-button health issues. Most shared images on Pinterest relating to vaccination cautioned against it, contradicting established medical guidelines and research showing that vaccines are safe, Pinterest said. The image-searching platform tried to remove the antivaccination content, a Pinterest spokeswoman said, but has been unable to remove it completely. (McMillan and Hernandez, 2/20)
Amazon Leader: AI Can Help Health, But ‘We Need To Ground That In Truth’
In health care, he is known for his work on President Obama’s precision medicine initiative and as the first-ever chief informatics officer at the Food and Drug Administration. Now a senior leader of artificial intelligence at Amazon, Dr. Taha Kass-Hout is working to implement many of his ideas for disrupting health care at one of the world’s largest technology companies. During an interview with STAT at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society’s meeting in Orlando, Fla., Kass-Hout spoke passionately about the increasing power and utility of AI in health care. (Ross, 2/20)
Patients, Health Data Experts Accuse Facebook Of Exposing Personal Info
A group of patients and health data experts is accusing Facebook of misleading users about how their personal health information can be manipulated and exposed without patients' explicit permission. In a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) complaint released publicly on Tuesday, the group alleges that Facebook prompts its users to join online medical support groups under the guise that they are "private" – but does not make clear that users could expose their health data when they join those groups. (Birnbaum, 2/19)
The New York Times:
Loneliness Is Bad For Your Health. An App May Help.
Loneliness is bad for your health. Social isolation is associated with a significantly increased risk of premature death. And the problem resists fixing; solitary people who participate in experiments meant to nudge them into joining groups tend to have high rates of recidivism. According to a study published this month in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, however, it might be possible to reduce loneliness by using cellphones to teach a particular type of meditation. (Reynolds, 2/20)