If you haven’t got your health

Posted by Jeremy Spitzberg • Jul 31, 2019 3:14:30 PM

A sensational headline from MediaPost reads, "Study: 11% Of News Websites Spread False Health Information". While the article doesn't quite live up to that billing, it does raise an interesting brand safety question.

While the news industry faces problems of "fake news" and bias, some buyers might consider health and wellness sites safe havens. However, that might not be the case.

“Much of the focus on misinformation has been on political websites, but misinformation by health websites is also an enormous problem,” [Steven] Brill stated.

Brands that advertise with these sites could find themselves facing the same negative adjacency problems as they would alongside similar conspiratorial politics.

Much of the misinformation consists of unsubstantiated claims, such as how vaccines cause autism or marijuana cures cancer, he [John Gregory, an analyst at NewsGuard] said.

And the issue isn't a small one.

The unreliable sites generated more than 49 million engagements -- including shares, likes and comments -- on social media during a three-month period analyzed by NewsGuard.

Marketers want that kind of reach, but can't afford to have their brands associated with that kind of content. They can't flag all health and wellness information as "no go", any more than they could do the same for news sites. Education is key for brands and their partners, as is utilizing the right detection tools. That's why BSI is working to foster a community of Brand Safety Officers who will have the know-how to make these tough decisions.

Topics: Brand Safety, Ad Adjacency