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Bad Influence

Is Social Media Making Us Sick?

Do influencer-led mental health campaigns cause more harm than good? Are influencer-recommended health hacks actually making us sick?

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Deb Cohen


Celebrities and movie stars and even well-meaning micro-influencers with only a few thousand followers are making names for themselves as wellness and science gurus. But health professionals are now starting to ask what this burgeoning industry is doing to our health. Social media provides a new challenge to consumers as it is just too big to police well. It leaves determining what is and what isn’t true- and potentially big health decisions- to users.

From fertility to the menopause; mental health and neurodiversity; nutrition and weight loss; to cancer and other chronic illnesses, social media is influencing our health in different ways. Influencer marketing is big business, and the industry globally is now estimated to be worth £17 billion.

What has received less attention, perhaps, is that the highly regulated drug and medical device industry has cottoned on to the potential too. Companies in this space exert their influence in lots of different ways- some overt and some more subtle.

And it’s not just the celebs that are involved- serious scientific players are making a name for themselves in this space promoting all sorts of biometric measuring devices.

This obsession with staying well is leading to new emerging illnesses, unnecessarily turning ourselves into patients.

In Bad Influence Deb Cohen will take an evidence-based, investigative look at the effects of influencers on our health. This book will aim to provide a “users guide” to social media to help the public interpret what they see and how they know who to trust. This book will encourage people to question the information they’re being fed by influencers and ask: “Why should I believe you”?