Health Misinformation Detection in the Social Web: An Overview and a Data Science Approach

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Feb 15;19(4):2173. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19042173.


The increasing availability of online content these days raises several questions about effective access to information. In particular, the possibility for almost everyone to generate content with no traditional intermediary, if on the one hand led to a process of "information democratization", on the other hand, has negatively affected the genuineness of the information disseminated. This issue is particularly relevant when accessing health information, which impacts both the individual and societal level. Often, laypersons do not have sufficient health literacy when faced with the decision to rely or not rely on this information, and expert users cannot cope with such a large amount of content. For these reasons, there is a need to develop automated solutions that can assist both experts and non-experts in discerning between genuine and non-genuine health information. To make a contribution in this area, in this paper we proceed to the study and analysis of distinct groups of features and machine learning techniques that can be effective to assess misinformation in online health-related content, whether in the form of Web pages or social media content. To this aim, and for evaluation purposes, we consider several publicly available datasets that have only recently been generated for the assessment of health misinformation under different perspectives.

Keywords: consumer health; data science; deep learning; health misinformation; information access; information disorder; machine learning; social Web.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Communication
  • Data Science
  • Health Literacy*
  • Humans
  • Machine Learning
  • Social Media*