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Battling misinformation on TikTok has become ‘2nd job’ for some physicians

Battling misinformation on TikTok has become ‘2nd job’ for some physicians
September 30, 2021 Rachel Tirabassi

By Hannah Mitchell for Becker’s Hospital Review

Physicians are going beyond their job duties to get on TikTok to debunk COVID-19 misinformation, according to a Sept. 28 11 Alive report.

TikTok is reaching 1 billion users each month, which can make disproving dangerous cures, treatments and myths critical for COVID-19 pandemic recovery.

Jayne Morgan, MD, the executive director of the COVID-19 task force at Atlanta-based Piedmont Healthcare, has been combating misinformation in a TikTok series called the “Stairwell Chronicles.” She uses the series to share data in 60 seconds, because that’s the attention span TikTok users are accustomed to, she said.

“I’ve addressed remedies from drinking vodka, drinking rum, hydrogen peroxide, inhaling bleach, oregano, vitamin C,” Dr. Morgan said. “All of these home remedies really have been debunked, and we don’t have any scientific data to prove any of this is true.”

Trey Robinson, MD, emergency medical physician at Atlanta-based Grady Health, said he feels a duty to publish TikTok videos that get the public’s attention and give them COVID-19 facts. Under the username BruthaMD, Dr. Robison uses TikTok trends to make learning about COVID-19 more entertaining.

“When you go to TikTok, you see a lot of dancing, a lot of pop music, R&B music,” Dr. Robinson told the publication. “So I wanted to make sure that I reach people that were already watching similar videos like that.”

The physicians told the public that tackling misinformation has become a second job’s worth of responsibility on top of their regular job duties.

“I think the more times me and others spend time doing it, the more effective it would be,” Dr. Morgan said. “But we’ve got to make a living on the other hand.”

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