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Pinterest is Not for Medical Advice
By: Jessica Cherok
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Pinterest is probably a great place for finding a cute craft project, but not where you should be going for information on health. According to a recent study, nearly 75% of pins related to vaccines are negative.

Buried under recipes and hairstyles are pins related to health issues such as depression, medications, and more. The study, from Virginia Commonwealth University, sifted through 800 pins related to vaccines, and found them overwhelmingly negative toward whether or not vaccines are safe. Nearly a fifth of the pins claimed vaccines were part of conspiracies by the government or pharmaceutical companies, aimed at killing people.

Part of the issue on Pinterest may be more related to the fact that anyone can categorize anything as science or health-related. Without taking an extra step to discern if the pinner actually has any real knowledge of what they are claiming, Pinterest’s browsers could find themselves believing in things that simply aren’t true. This critical thinking is difficult considering the amount of fear that goes along with the safety of children, as well as the convincing professional-looking sophistication of some of the posts.

Thankfully, Pinterest is not an actual reflection of overall sentiment toward vaccines. The Pew Research Center conducted a survey showing 83% of Americans believe vaccines are not harmful.

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About the Author
Jessica Cherok is an advocate for online privacy, campaigning for ethical data practices and the protection of personal privacy.
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