To help reduce this and other types of harmful misinformation, Facebook’s fact-checking system flagged a health-related post shared more than 4,400 times as possibly false.
Japanese method prevent heart attacks?
The post claims a “100% cure” to “prevent heart attack” is to “drink water on an empty stomach”.
It says “the water treatment had been found successful by a Japanese medical society as a 100% cure for diseases” including arthritis, epilepsy, TB, meningitis, diabetes, cancer and many more.
And “the treatment method has no side effects” except increased urination.
The claim that drinking water consistently prevents heart attacks has been made elsewhere. It has also been shared on other pages on Facebook.
Not medically proven
The fact that the post does not have a credible author raises a red flag. And it doesn’t give the names of any real medical experts or organisations that might support its claims.
The claim has been circulating online for almost a decade.
US fact-checking site Snopes researched it in 2010 and rated it false. Snopes could not find any statements by a “Japanese medical society” that supported it.
“Diabetes, cancer, and tuberculosis are serious illnesses that are not subject to being easily cured by even the latest medical technologies, let alone by tap water,” Snopes said.
“Belief in such easy fixes is understandable because such diseases are big, mean, scary things, and those so afflicted often feel powerless in the face of them.”
Dehydration increases coronary disease risk
Snopes did point to a study that found a higher intake of fluids reduced the risk of fatal coronary disease.
The study found that “independent risk factors for coronary heart disease” could be “elevated by dehydration”, so drinking more water could reduce this higher risk.
But the study did not find that drinking water on an empty stomach was a “100% cure” for “heart attack”. – Africa Check (11/06/2019)
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For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false
A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?
Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.Publishers guide
Africa Check teams up with Facebook
Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.
The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.
You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.