Scrolling by way of TikTok one afternoon, I got here throughout an attention-grabbing video by @beaupinto. He made the declare that porn is the most important drug dependancy on the planet, as a result of “if you see a sexy girl, your mind releases a neurotransmitter known as dopamine.” Trying by way of a porn web site the place you’ll see many alternative ladies, he posits, permits the “alpha male a part of your mind” to launch much more dopamine, which he appears to imagine finally results in a porn dependancy. However, based on the American Affiliation of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT), there is not enough proof to categorize intercourse dependancy or porn dependancy as a psychological well being dysfunction. So, believing this video to be satire, I turned to the feedback, solely to search out scores of individuals agreeing with him and asking for therapy choices, even though he’s not a medical skilled. (His bio notes he’s a “Creator Being, Skilled Social Networker, Media Affect Coach.” He posted one other video two months later “for everybody who thinks that you must be a physician to be sensible.” )

Intrigued by what else may be on the market, I made a decision to comply with the hashtag #sexualhealth that was getting used within the caption of his video. I shortly realized that a number of parallel universes exist contained in the app with names like queertok, edutok, booktok, skincaretiktok and, of most curiosity for this story, healthtok. Individuals who comply with these hashtags are uncovered to quite a lot of influencers and consultants (or “consultants”) of their respective fields.

Within the healthtok group, there are educators with a giant following who’re additionally board-certified medical doctors, like OB-GYNs Jennifer Gunter and Staci Tanouye, however there are additionally lots of people who aren’t medical professionals, claiming to be “ladies’s well being fans” as a substitute. Telling who’s who can get complicated, particularly if they do not present any info of their bio about their {qualifications}.

And sadly, the format of the app doesn’t enable for a lot clarification or follow-up on lots of info that’s shared. With a restrict of 150 character counts and as much as three minutes of video, it may be troublesome to share citations, hyperlinks, and sources with out directing viewers to go away the platform.

Misinformation Is Having a Second

In recent times, we now have seen an exponential rise in misinformation that spreads shortly and simply throughout social media websites. This has been highly effective sufficient to gasoline social phenomenons just like the antivax (most not too long ago associated to the COVID-19 vaccine) and pro-life motion, and is usually related to older generations who’re served clickbait headlines on their newsfeeds.

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