A new study has revealed that misinformation about antibiotics can travel to large audience through social networking sites like Twitter.
Experts from Columbia University and MixedInk (New York, NY) examined the health information content of Twitter updates mentioning antibiotics to determine how people are sharing information and assess the proliferation of misinformation.
The investigation explored evidence of misunderstanding or misuse of antibiotics.
"Research focusing on microblogs and social networking services is still at an early stage. Further study is needed to assess how to promote healthy behaviors and to collect and disseminate trustworthy information using these tools," Daniel Scanfeld and colleagues said.
The authors stressed that because health information is shared extensively on such networks, it is important for health care professionals to have a basic familiarity with social networking media services, such as Twitter.
They add that such services can potentially be used to gather important real-time health data and may provide a venue to identify potential misuse or misunderstanding of antibiotics, promote positive behavior change, and disseminate valid information.
The study appears in the April issue of AJIC: American Journal of Infection Control.