Zika virus misinformation on the internet

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There is significant evidence that free speech on the internet allows for incorrect information to gain more attention than they would in more restrictive settings. Efforts are required to provide the public with accurate research findings.

The recent outbreak of Zika virus in the Americas has led to significant media coverage and misinformation spread on the internet. The review aimed to investigate the nature of this misinformation, and to compare its degree on the two most popular search engines. The investigation revealed that Google and Bing, had a few results arguing against the scientific consensus on Zika by CDC guidelines. Six websites with misinformation were found in the first 20 pages of Google and one in the first 20 pages of Bing. The ability to spread public health information on the internet carries also the risk of incorrect information being spread. Appropriate publicity should be given to relevant research findings to fight misinformation.

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