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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 12110

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.


Publication type: news

Negative vaccination info popular on YouTube: study
CBC News 2007 Dec 5

Full text:

Negative information about vaccinations shown on the popular video website YouTube received more stars and more views than positive information, finds a new study conducted by researchers at York University and the University of Toronto.

YouTube is a video-streaming site that lets users share their videos with Internet viewers.

Researchers examined 153 YouTube videos dealing with vaccinations and immunizations to see whether they were more negative or positive in their stance and to see how viewers responded to them.

According to the study, published in the Dec. 5 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, many health care professionals have expressed concern about what they consider to be erroneous health information on Internet sites.

The researchers discovered that 48 per cent of the videos were positive, 32 per cent were negative and 20 per cent were ambiguous. They found that negative videos were more likely to be rated by viewers and to receive more views. On the other hand, public service announcements received the lowest ratings and fewest views.

They also found that viewers were most likely to debate childhood vaccines, which accounted for 25 per cent of the topics in discussion forums that accompany YouTube videos. The HPV vaccine, which protects against cervical cancer, accounted for 24 per cent of all online discussions.

“Clinicians therefore need to be aware of Internet video-sharing sites and should be prepared to respond to patients who obtain their health information from these sources,” the authors suggest.

They add that health professionals should consider using the YouTube site to spread accurate health messages.


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