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Facebook users clam up about medical conditions
By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH
19/03/2014
Although the average Israeli loves to bare his soul on social networks, four out of five avoid saying anything about their health on Facebook.
 
Although the average Israeli loves to bare his soul on social networks, a new survey has found that four out of five avoid saying anything about their health on Facebook.

Camoni, a nonprofit portal on medical problems, reported on Wednesday that its survey among a representative sample of 624 Internet users found that only 8 percent are significantly informed by Facebook regarding chronic conditions from which they suffer. The survey was conducted by Camoni with the Zeta Tools company, and it had a margin of error of ±1.8 percentage points.

Nevertheless, the Internet is used as a central source of information about medical conditions.

A total of 44% use websites of patient groups such as Camoni, while 42% turn to health funds’ websites and 35% to doctors’ websites. Just 23% obtained most of the needed information on their medical conditions from friends or relatives and 22% from books or articles on the subject.

Many users said they trust Internet sources and base important decisions on what they read there, even though the sources may have vested interests and not be authoritative. Men are more likely to be influenced by virtual medical information (42%) compared to women (33%).

Of individuals who called themselves healthy, 43% trusted Internet sites for health information compared to 36% of those who said they were ill.

Tamar Schifter, who runs the nonprofit medical site, said that most users of social media don’t think Facebook is a suitable platform to discuss medical issues.

“We like to send in happy information and show ourselves having a good time with friends to show how wonderful our lives are. But nobody is eager to talk about their high blood pressure or urinary problems. People prefer to share their stories with their doctors and not with people they went to high school with.”
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