Snake Oil

The Digital Human

By BBC Radio 4

Snake Oil

The internet began as a way for academics and researchers to share information and collaborate on projects - it was a boon for scientific discovery. But despite there being more scientific information online than ever, in the modern day the power of the internet has completely flipped. Verified science and medicine are crowded out by a plethora of misinformation and snake oil salesmen. From the relatively harmless quackery such as infrared light treatments or ‘wellness’ focused diets, to conspiracy theories around vaccinations that are influencing political policy, and have resulted in outbreaks of dangerous, preventable diseases across the world - what is happening online is having a tangible impact across the globe. Aleks Krotoski explores how the infrastructure of the internet allows medical misinformation to thrive, finds out how people can be drawn into communities centred around medical misinformation and conspiracy theory, and how both scientists and every day internet users can redress the balance online.
Snake Oil
Snake Oil
The Digital Human