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The Internet is filled with content from all types of creators. A large number of these creators share and broadcast their content on social media channels, with one prominent channel being the sensational hit we all know as TikTok.
Given its ease of access, especially when contrasted against medical journals on scientific websites, many people get exposed to health information on TikTok on a pretty regular basis.
While some of the health information is factual and helpful, one study shows that over 75% of content in TikTok talking about sexual dysfunction is unreliable.
More specifically, the aforementioned study has reported that out of 40 uploaded videos on premature ejaculation in TikTok, only 8 of them were deemed reliable information.
Furthermore, health professionals reported that a high video like and follower percentage often correlates with a positive correlation with unreliable information.
Health misinformation is a public crisis that can have devastating ramifications like severe injury or death. This is why it’s crucial to improve one’s health literacy.
The best medical source that covers sexual dysfunction comes straight from your physician’s mouth. That said, the Internet isn’t completely devoid of reliable information, you’ll just need to know where to look for it.
This article will cover how TikTok sends information, the devastating effects of TikTok’s false or misleading information crisis, and some alternative sources where the average person can find accurate health information.
The Mechanics of TikTok: Virality Over Validity
TikTok, in essence, is engineered to hook its users through short-form videos. Its algorithm promotes content that keeps users endlessly scrolling, utilizing machine learning techniques to tailor content based on individual preferences.
While this system can provide quick entertainment, there are harms to it too. Given how easy it is to post a video and have it go viral, this can cause a proliferation of fake news and inaccurate health communication to spread throughout this social media app.
Users aren’t the only ones hooked by this system; even creators get incentivized by virality, ready to create the next viral hit.
But with only a minute to convey information, many content creators resort to oversimplifying complex topics. Sexual dysfunction, an incredibly nuanced medical issue, is one such topic that’s prone to getting oversimplified on this social media platform.
While misinformation can happen on other popular websites as well, there are at least some safeguards in place to prevent highly inaccurate information from getting exposed to individuals, such as Google’s EAT ranking system.
On the other hand, TikTok’s focus on virality and disregard for quality allows the public to consume health content that may be inaccurate and false—which can have very detrimental real-world effects.
The Dangers of Medical Misinformation
Believing medical misinformation can have serious consequences, both on an individual level and a societal level. This is especially true when it comes to sexual dysfunction.
It’s essential to research topics and ensure that they’re accurate to avoid these consequences. Over 43% of medical information online is not reliable, so be sure to verify what you come across with actual healthcare professionals.
Here are some of the dangers that can arise when patients believe in medical misinformation:
- Compromised patient safety
- Eroded trust in the health industry
- Delay or avoidance in seeking medical care
- Propagation of false medical myths
- Added strain on healthcare systems
- Potential panic due to global health misinformation
- Viral spread due to vaccine hesitancy
On the sexual side of things, many misleading health information can cause people to rely on potentially hazardous alternative remedies such as penis enlargement pills or aphrodisiac products that they falsely believe to be effective in their specific purpose.
How to Discern Reliable Sexual Health Content From Fake Data
For the people willing to take their chance on TikTok, there are indeed still some nuggets of knowledge you can find in the app. You’ll just have to be more careful about what you’re digesting and determine whether it’s proper medical information or not.
Need help? Here’s how to discern accurate information online:
- Ensure the content has citations
- Verify the author’s credentials
- Ensure that the content and citations are current
- Check for peer reviews
- Check multiple sources
- Be suspicious of sensationalist text
If the content you’re reading or watching passes these points, it’s generally safe to trust it. Of course, it’s still best to consult with a medical professional. This way, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your health is in capable hands.
Alternative Online Platforms for Health Information
One of TikTok’s primary draws is its popularity.
However, if you want to learn factual information straight from health authorities, you’ll need to step away from the platform and look into these resources instead:
- Evidence-based medical journals like the National Center for Biotechnology Information, ScienceDirect, and Nature.
- Healthcare blogs that have been written by licensed professionals, which reference medical studies.
- NGO websites like the World Health Organization and Cancer.org.
- A specialized physician (and second opinions).
While there are many famous medical personalities online with good credentials, their advice might not always be pertinent to your situation. This is why it’s best to talk with your medical doctor so that they can give you specific advice on what to do next.
Get Expert Guidance and Treatment at Tampa, Florida’s Best Medical Clinic for Men
If you’ve ever wondered “Is Tiktok a reliable source of information”, the short answer is no.
There are no safeguards in place to curb the spread of health misinformation on this social media platform—and it can be easy for individuals to be misguided and misdiagnosed with health-related misinformation in these social media platforms.
Ready to fix your sex life with the guidance of actual public health professionals? We’re here for you.
Schedule a consultation with us today, your initial consultation and first treatment are completely free.