June 28, 2019
Business Insider uncovered Friday that Instagram, a Facebook-owned photo-sharing platform, has been promoting the account of "Dr. Sebi," a pseudoscientific "healer" whose herbal remedies have made lofty promises to thousands of new Instagrammers.
The news outlet reports Dr. Sebi’s medically unverified claims regarding human biology — including that mucus, not bacteria or viruses, are to blame for disease — are being seen by these users with a “worrying veneer of legitimacy.”
Reportedly, Sebi’s account has made its way to the lengthy list of high-profile accounts suggested to new users to follow during their account set-up process — a list that is selected by an Instagram algorithm, not paid promotions or advertisements, Business Insider reports. Sebi, who died in 2016, was not a licensed medical doctor according to reports.
It's another indication that the spread of medical misinformation — an issue social media platforms have been slowing banding together to combat — continues.
During the winter months of 2019, Facebook and other platforms announced steps to prevent the spread of anti-vaccination rhetoric. Amazon, similarly, removed books for sale on the website relaying harmful autism “cures” involving bathing children in bleach.
View Business Insider's full report here.