Dating online resource
About one-third of American adults use social networking sites, such as Facebook or Twitter, as a source of health information. Any reliable health-related Web site should make it easy for you to learn who’s responsible for the site.
For example, if a site discusses health benefits people can expect from a treatment, look for references to scientific research that clearly support what’s said.
Social media sites have also become an important source of online health information for some people. For example, the Health Topics A–Z page on the NCCIH site provides links to some documents that NCCIH didn’t create; in those instances, the source of the documents is always identified.
Many online health resources are useful, but others may present information that is inaccurate or misleading, so it’s important to find sources you can trust and to know how to evaluate their content. In addition to identifying the source of the material you’re reading, the site should describe the evidence (such as articles in medical journals) that the material is based on.
Web sites usually have a policy about establishing links to other sites.
Some sites take a conservative approach and don’t link to any other sites.
They have even been known to telephone their victims as a first introduction. For example, Web addresses (such as NCCIH’s) that end in “.gov” mean it’s a government-sponsored site; “.edu” indicates an educational institution, “.org” a noncommercial organization, and “.com” a commercial organization. You can also trust sites with “.edu” addresses if they’re produced by the educational institution. You can also learn about who runs a Web site by looking at the letters at the end of its Web address.You should evaluate the linked sites just as you would any other site that you’re visiting for the first time.Many Web sites track visitors’ paths to determine what pages are being viewed.