Health system, CDC ads found on COVID-19 misinformation sites

Misinformation and conspiracy theories about COVID-19 have proliferated online throughout the pandemic, and some unlikely brands advertise on sites that house these falsehoods, according to an analysis released Feb. 17 by NewsGuard.

From February 2020 to February 2021, NewsGuard identified websites known to publish COVID-19 misinformation and found they featured 42,000 different ads from 4,315 brands. Among the brands are the CDC, Pfizer, Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic, New Hyde Park, N.Y.-based Northwell Health, Stanford (Calif.) Health Care and UPMC.

It is likely the ads appeared on the sites by chance, as algorithms target key audiences and deliver ads on the sites they visit. 

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