Patients should no even think of using Facebook for health

  • Facebook’s leaders seriously discussed selling access to user data — and privacy was an afterthought.
  • Mark Zuckerberg oversaw plans to consolidate the social network’s power and control competitors by treating its users’ data as a bargaining chip, while publicly proclaiming to be protecting that data.
  • Facebook ultimately decided not to sell the data directly but rather to dole it out to app developers who were considered personal “friends” of Zuckerberg or who spent money on Facebook and shared their own valuable data.

If you’re a patient or advertiser of Facebook the latest revelations on Facebook selling user data should be upsetting, at the least. It seems Zuckerberg is unfazed by the potential privacy risks associated with Facebook’s data-sharing arrangements.

Last week I developed a small case of Shingles even though I had been vaccinated four years ago. I joined a Shingle’s group on Facebook and all of a sudden I saw ads for Shingles treatments in my feed on Instagram and Facebook. For more people this “invasion of privacy” should be distressing”.

Wego Health, which has a financial interest in the use of social media for health recently said that influencers are most likely to turn to groups on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as their first source for health information, followed by health websites such as WebMD, patient advocacy organization portals, their doctor, patient blogs and YouTube. Only 3% said they prefer pharma websites.  This is pure bull.

Of all the reach that I have done the one thing that has remained constant is that people turn to online health portals first followed by pharma sites and social media. In an era of fake news to suggest that influencers would first turn to social media is self-serving.

Pharma advertisers need to rethink their use of Facebook and patients should think twice about joining any Facebook health group. The bottom line is that despite what Facebook says they are leveraging your private data for financial gain. Until people start to hold the site responsible they have no incentive to change and will continue to treat people like cattle.

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