Facebook, YouTube overrun with bogus cancer-treatment claims

Facebook and YouTube are being flooded with scientifically dubious and potentially harmful information about alternative cancer treatments, which sometimes gets viewed millions of times. The companies say they are taking steps to curb such accounts.

Facebook and YouTube are being flooded with scientifically dubious and potentially harmful information about alternative cancer treatments, which sometimes gets viewed millions of times. The companies say they are taking steps to curb such accounts. Facebook last month changed its News Feed algorithms to reduce promotion of posts promising miracle cures or flogging health services, a move that will reduce the number of times they pop up in user feeds. YouTube has been cutting off advertising for fake cancer-treatment channels, and is working with medical doctors to identify content promoting unproven claims and medical conspiracy theories. The company has tweaked its algorithms to reduce the number of times these dubious videos are presented to users. The two tech firms' efforts are part of a broader move by Silicon Valley to police health-related content on platforms. YouTube, which has guidelines that do not allow videos that can result in immediate harm, considers medical misinformation especially concerning, a spokesman said. Earlier this year, Facebook said it would crack down on false criticism of vaccines spread by skeptics, an effort that the company has acknowledged has a long way to go.