Viewpoint: YouTube, Facebook and Google should do more to stop spread of dangerous cancer quackery

youtuber cancer x
Mari Lopez and Liz Johnson. Image: Harry Shukman

Many outlets are covering the story of Mari Lopez, a YouTuber who claimed, along with her niece, Liz Johnson, that a raw vegan diet cured her breast cancer. Johnson recently updated the videos with a notice that Mari Lopez died of cancer in December 2017. She has refused, however, to take down the videos.

The story, unfortunately, is a common one. 

[Cancer] is a life-altering event. It also makes people vulnerable – in that situation, who wouldn’t want an escape hatch, a way to get back to their normal life? That is what cancer quackery offers – forget surgery and chemotherapy, just engage in this mild intervention, like a diet change, and your cancer will be gone.

Short of banning, outlets can also tweak their search algorithms to favor authoritative sources over individual unreliable content. If you search for “cure for cancer” what comes up in the first 20 or so results? … YouTube, Facebook, and Google should not be viewed as passive platforms devoid of any responsibility. Their algorithms are active – they choose what content floats to the top. They are entirely open about the fact that quality of content is a main criterion, and so considering scientific accuracy is perfectly reasonable.

Read full, original post: Cancer Quackery on YouTube

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