Headline, August 17 2020/ MARKUP : ''' BAD SCIENCE BAT '''



PSEUDOSCIENCE COMPANIES TAP DIRECTLY into our fears and isolation, offering us a sense of control, while claiming their products can end our pain.
Being targeted by those who traffic in false promises feels like a ''slap in the face'' to patients like me.

They exploit our emotions to offer phony alternatives, like the ''cell quickening'' company that proclaims on Facebook : Battering and bruising the body just to treat the symptoms [of] breast cancer is not necessarily the best or only option available to you. You have choices!''

Last week, I posted about my breast cancer diagnosis on Facebook. Since then, my Facebook feed has featured ads, which were new to my timeline, promote everything from cumin seeds to colloidal silver as cancer treatments.
Some ads promise luxury clinics - or even ''nontoxic cancer therapies'' on a beach in Mexico.

There's a reason I'll never fall for these ads : I'm an  advocate against pseudoscience. As a consultant for the watchdog group BadScience Watch and the founder of the Campaign Against Phony Autism Cures, I've learned to recognize the hallmarks of pseudoscience marketing:

Unproven sometimes dangerous treatments, promising simplistic solutions and support. Things like  ''bleach cures'' that promise to treat everything from Covid-19 to autism.

When I saw the ads, I knew that Facebook had probably tagged me to receive them. Interestingly, I haven't seen any legitimate cancer care ads in my newsfeed, just pseudoscience. This maybe because  pseudoscience companies rely on social media in a way that other forms of healthcare don't.

Pseudoscience companies leverage Faacebook's social and supportive environment to connect their products with identities and to build communities around their products.

They use influencers and patient testimonials. Some companies also recruit members through Facebook ''support groups'' to sell their products in pyramid schemes.

Through all the social media, patients begin to feel a sense of belonging, which makes it harder for them to question a product. Cancer patients are especially vulnerable to this stealth marketing. It's hard to accept the loss of control that comes with a cancer diagnosis.

As cancer patients, we are told where to go, how to sit and what to take. It can be painful and scary and tiring - and then all our hair falls out. During the pandemic, many of us are also isolated. Our loved ones can't come to our appointments or even visit us in the hospital. Now, more than ever, who is there to hold our hand?

When I looked at my body after my recent surgery, I wished there was another choice. I would have given just about everything to be on a beach in Mexico. But I've witnessed that false promise of these companies. I've spoken to someone who flew to that beach clinic, only to return home and discover that her tumour was inoperable.

The evidence is clear : Death rates are much higher for people with cancer who choose alternative therapies instead of standard care.

Facebook is ubiquitous in many of our lives, and people use the platform to search for health-related support groups and information. So we might assume that Facebook has an ethical stake in keeping  its content free of scams and misinformation.

But Facebook has an odd history with the term ''pseudoscience.'' It was only last April that Facebook removed ''pseudoscience'' as a keyword from its categories for targeted advertising, and only after the tech publication The Markup reported that 78 million users were listed on Facebook ad portal as having an ''interest'' in the category.

Since the pandemic started, there has been increasing pressure on Facebook to remove coronavirus-related misinformation. Facebook pledged that it would add a warning label to Covid-19 related ads and would remove pseudoscience ads that were reported by its users.

The problem, which even Facebook acknowledged, is that pseudoscience content can run for months before being flagged by readers. Facebooks main ad-screening system is automated.

While we wait for its artificial intelligence system to catch up with the discernment abilities of human reviewers, a steady flow of pseudoscience has already slipped through on a platform with billions of users.

The Honor and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Bad Science Watch, continues. The World Students Society thanks author and advocate, Anne Borden King.

With respectful dedication to the Parents, Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011:

''' Targets - Traffic '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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