Gone Viral - 2021 - Digital - Not for Sale
As social media evolves, it’s manifested itself into almost every aspect of our lives. Statistics show that those between the ages of 16 to 24 spend approximately 3 hours on social media daily, while internet users of all ages average at approximately 2 hours and 22 minutes a day. And while it’s true that social media has many benefits, one downside is the spread of health and “wellness” misinformation. Users now often take to the internet to search for health information, and according to the National Cancer Institute, 7.5 million American adults venture online to acquire peer support about health issues.
Social media can be a great tool for those who struggle to find affordable healthcare and for those who seek out emotional support for various medical diagnoses. Therefore, the onus should be on us, co-creators, disseminators and users, to make sure the information we share to others is verified and fact-based. The problem, however, is that many users are not equipped with the knowledge and tools they need to discern fact from fiction, and instead share posts out of fear.
Gone Viral, an online resource provided to equip social media users with the knowledge they need to not only detect misinformation, but to also stop its spread. The website includes data and statistics on both social media and health topics, interviews with medical and computer science professionals regarding best practices and the role of algorithms in detecting misinformation, in addition to specific guidelines that unpack everything from how to successfully correct misinformation when you see it to fact-checking viral health claims. The Gone Viral Instagram page is dedicated to sharing this information in post format so that it can be shared across social media accounts, successfully combating misinformation at the root of the source. As a designer, I am positioned to help mitigate the fear surrounding these health topics in order to create a more open, transparent dialogue.
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