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Philippine social media users face barrage of bogus medical posts



Philippine doctors worried about misinformation during the pandemic began posting educational videos online, but the move backfired as promoters of spurious treatments inserted the clips into their own posts

Philippine doctors worried about misinformation during the pandemic began posting educational videos online, but the move backfired as promoters of spurious treatments inserted the clips into their own posts – Copyright AFP JAM STA ROSA

Lucille Sodipe and Faith Brown

Philippine vlogger Rosanel Demasudlay holds a heart-shaped “virginity soap” bar in front of the camera and assures her hundreds of YouTube followers it can be safely used to “tighten” their vaginas.

The video is part of a barrage of bogus and harmful medical posts on social media platforms where Filipinos rank among the world’s heaviest users. 

Even before Covid-19 confined people to their homes and left them fearful of seeing a doctor, many in the Philippines sought remedies online because they were cheaper and easier to access.

During the pandemic, AFP’s Fact Check team saw an explosion of misinformation about untested cosmetic products and quick-fix treatments for chronic illnesses. 

The majority appear as free posts or paid advertisements on Facebook, the most popular social media site among the 76 million internet users in the Philippines.

They can circulate for weeks or even months without detection as Facebook struggles to keep up with the torrent of misinformation flooding its platform.

While there is no vetting of posts before they go live, Facebook has a multi-stage, largely automated, review system to check ads before they are published.

Many of the products are promoted in videos that have been doctored to make it look like real medical professionals are endorsing them. 

Others appear in falsified news reports, while some are touted by vloggers such as Demasudlay.

AFP fact checkers have debunked dozens of claims, including a manipulated Philippine news report that appeared to promote a herbal supplement for diabetics as an alternative to insulin.

A single post of the false video was viewed more than three million times, shared more than seven thousand times and attracted almost ten thousand comments from people, many wanting to buy it.

Demasudlay’s 15-minute video was posted in August 2022 and viewed more than ten thousand times.

She falsely claimed the “Bar Bilat Virginity Soap” had been approved by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for skin conditions and a way to tighten the vagina.

“Bilat” means “vagina” in a local Philippine language.

In fact, the FDA has warned consumers against using the “unauthorised” soap due to possible health risks that range from skin irritation to organ failure.

A few months later, Demasudlay admitted in another video that the soap had left her “itchy to the point of bleeding” — but she kept promoting it.

Demasudlay declined to be interviewed by AFP.

– Global problem – 

Philippine doctors worried about the explosion of medical misinformation during the pandemic began posting videos providing free information about common health conditions.

But the move backfired as promoters of spurious treatments used clips from those videos and inserted them into their own posts for credibility.

Geraldine Zamora, a rheumatologist in the capital Manila, was among those targeted.

In 2020, she began recording videos and posting them on TikTok, where she has more than 60,000 followers.

“It was a good thing for us because we were able to extend our medical knowledge to people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to consult with doctors,” Zamora said.

Her videos were watched hundreds of thousands of times.

But then the footage was used to promote an unregistered brand of supplement for arthritis, which the FDA had warned consumers about.

The manipulated posts were viewed tens of thousands of times before being taken down by Facebook.

Zamora said some of her patients considered purchasing the product in the belief she was endorsing it.

The World Health Organization told AFP that “inappropriate promotion and advertisements” for unregistered medical products had long been a global problem and the pandemic may have made it worse.

Filipinos were particularly vulnerable to false or misleading health claims due to a shortage of doctors in the country and their heavy internet usage, said Eleanor Castillo, a public health expert at the University of the Philippines. 

“Even if we have our rural health units, or village health centres, many of them don’t have doctors or they would visit once a week or twice a month, especially in far-flung areas,” Castillo said.

The consequences of using unapproved treatments can be dire.

Vicente Ocampo, president of the Philippine Academy of Ophthalmology, said patients as young as 12 had become blind after using eye drops bought online instead of consulting a doctor.

“It saddens us that people will readily believe advertisements that claim to heal all eye problems as speedily as possible and pay exorbitant prices for these eye drops,” Ocampo said.

Ocampo said Facebook posts selling an unregistered eye drop brand that had used images of real doctors and the academy’s name.

But the academy struggled to get traction with its warnings about the misinformation. 

Its statement issued in September 2022 notifying consumers about the false posts received 57 interactions — likes, shares and comments.

In the same month, four ads for the product reviewed by AFP fact checkers received almost 34,000 interactions. 

Some of the viral medical posts AFP has debunked on Facebook were paid advertisements.

The ad policy of Meta, the parent company of Facebook, prohibits any “promises or suggestions of unrealistic outcomes” for “health, weight loss or economic opportunity”.

It says ads for over-the-counter medicines should comply with licences and approvals required by local laws.

However, keyword searches on Meta’s ad library found hundreds of advertisements for products debunked by AFP still on the site. 

Meta told AFP it was working with Philippine law enforcement “to address” illegal commercial listings.

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12 Proven Methods to Make Money Blogging in 2024



Make money blogging


Make money bloggingThis is a contributed article.

The world of blogging continues to thrive in 2024, offering a compelling avenue for creative minds to share their knowledge, build an audience, and even turn their passion into profit. Whether you’re a seasoned blogger or just starting, there are numerous effective strategies to monetize your blog and achieve financial success. Here, we delve into 12 proven methods to make money blogging in 2024:

1. Embrace Niche Expertise:

Standing out in the vast blogosphere requires focus. Carving a niche allows you to cater to a specific audience with targeted content. This not only builds a loyal following but also positions you as an authority in your chosen field. Whether it’s gardening techniques, travel hacking tips, or the intricacies of cryptocurrency, delve deep into a subject you’re passionate and knowledgeable about. Targeted audiences are more receptive to monetization efforts, making them ideal for success.

2. Content is King (and Queen):

High-quality content remains the cornerstone of any successful blog. In 2024, readers crave informative, engaging, and well-written content that solves their problems, answers their questions, or entertains them. Invest time in crafting valuable blog posts, articles, or videos that resonate with your target audience.

  • Focus on evergreen content: Create content that remains relevant for a long time, attracting consistent traffic and boosting your earning potential.
  • Incorporate multimedia: Spice up your content with captivating images, infographics, or even videos to enhance reader engagement and improve SEO.
  • Maintain consistency: Develop a regular publishing schedule to build anticipation and keep your audience coming back for more.

3. The Power of SEO:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ensures your blog ranks high in search engine results for relevant keywords. This increases organic traffic, the lifeblood of any monetization strategy.

  • Keyword research: Use keyword research tools to identify terms your target audience searches for. Strategically incorporate these keywords into your content naturally.
  • Technical SEO: Optimize your blog’s loading speed, mobile responsiveness, and overall technical aspects to improve search engine ranking.
  • Backlink building: Encourage other websites to link back to your content, boosting your blog’s authority in the eyes of search engines.

4. Monetization Magic: Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing allows you to earn commissions by promoting other companies’ products or services. When a reader clicks on your affiliate link and makes a purchase, you get a commission.

  • Choose relevant affiliates: Promote products or services that align with your niche and resonate with your audience.
  • Transparency is key: Disclose your affiliate relationships clearly to your readers and build trust.
  • Integrate strategically: Don’t just bombard readers with links. Weave affiliate promotions naturally into your content, highlighting the value proposition.

5. Display Advertising: A Classic Approach

Display advertising involves placing banner ads, text ads, or other visual elements on your blog. When a reader clicks on an ad, you earn revenue.

  • Choose reputable ad networks: Partner with established ad networks that offer competitive rates and relevant ads for your audience.
  • Strategic ad placement: Place ads thoughtfully, avoiding an overwhelming experience for readers.
  • Track your performance: Monitor ad clicks and conversions to measure the effectiveness of your ad placements and optimize for better results.

6. Offer Premium Content:

Providing exclusive, in-depth content behind a paywall can generate additional income. This could be premium blog posts, ebooks, online courses, or webinars.

  • Deliver exceptional value: Ensure your premium content offers significant value that justifies the price tag.
  • Multiple pricing options: Consider offering tiered subscription plans to cater to different audience needs and budgets.
  • Promote effectively: Highlight the benefits of your premium content and encourage readers to subscribe.

7. Coaching and Consulting:

Leverage your expertise by offering coaching or consulting services related to your niche. Readers who find your content valuable may be interested in personalized guidance.

  • Position yourself as an expert: Showcase your qualifications, experience, and client testimonials to build trust and establish your credibility.
  • Offer free consultations: Provide a limited free consultation to potential clients, allowing them to experience your expertise firsthand.
  • Develop clear packages: Outline different coaching or consulting packages with varying time commitments and pricing structures.

8. The Power of Community: Online Events and Webinars

Host online events or webinars related to your niche. These events offer valuable content while also providing an opportunity to promote other monetization avenues.

  • Interactive and engaging: Structure your online events to be interactive with polls, Q&A sessions, or live chats. Click here to learn more about image marketing with Q&A sessions and live chats.

9. Embrace the Power of Email Marketing:

Building an email list allows you to foster stronger relationships with your audience and promote your content and offerings directly.

  • Offer valuable incentives: Encourage readers to subscribe by offering exclusive content, discounts, or early access to new products.
  • Segmentation is key: Segment your email list based on reader interests to send targeted campaigns that resonate more effectively.
  • Regular communication: Maintain consistent communication with your subscribers through engaging newsletters or updates.

10. Sell Your Own Products:

Take your expertise to the next level by creating and selling your own products. This could be physical merchandise, digital downloads, or even printables related to your niche.

  • Identify audience needs: Develop products that address the specific needs and desires of your target audience.
  • High-quality offerings: Invest in creating high-quality products that offer exceptional value and user experience.
  • Utilize multiple platforms: Sell your products through your blog, online marketplaces, or even social media platforms.

11. Sponsorships and Brand Collaborations:

Partner with brands or businesses relevant to your niche for sponsored content or collaborations. This can be a lucrative way to leverage your audience and generate income.

  • Maintain editorial control: While working with sponsors, ensure you retain editorial control to maintain your blog’s authenticity and audience trust.
  • Disclosures are essential: Clearly disclose sponsored content to readers, upholding transparency and ethical practices.
  • Align with your niche: Partner with brands that complement your content and resonate with your audience.

12. Freelancing and Paid Writing Opportunities:

Your blog can serve as a springboard for freelance writing opportunities. Showcase your writing skills and expertise through your blog content, attracting potential clients.

  • Target relevant publications: Identify online publications, websites, or magazines related to your niche and pitch your writing services.
  • High-quality samples: Include high-quality blog posts from your site as writing samples when pitching to potential clients.
  • Develop strong writing skills: Continuously hone your writing skills and stay updated on current trends in your niche to deliver exceptional work.


Building a successful blog that generates income requires dedication, strategic planning, and high-quality content. In today’s digital age, there are numerous opportunities to make money online through blogging. By utilizing a combination of methods such as affiliate marketing, sponsored content, and selling digital products or services, you can leverage your blog’s potential and achieve financial success.

Remember, consistency in posting, engaging with your audience, and staying adaptable to trends are key to thriving in the ever-evolving blogosphere. Embrace new strategies, refine your approaches, and always keep your readers at the forefront of your content creation journey. With dedication and the right approach, your blog has the potential to become a valuable source of income and a platform for sharing your knowledge and passion with the world, making money online while doing what you love.

Image Credit: DepositPhotos

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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?




Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

In a recent announcement, Snapchat revealed a groundbreaking update that challenges its traditional design ethos. The platform is experimenting with an option that allows users to defy the 24-hour auto-delete rule, a feature synonymous with Snapchat’s ephemeral messaging model.

The proposed change aims to introduce a “Never delete” option in messaging retention settings, aligning Snapchat more closely with conventional messaging apps. While this move may blur Snapchat’s distinctive selling point, Snap appears convinced of its necessity.

According to Snap, the decision stems from user feedback and a commitment to innovation based on user needs. The company aims to provide greater flexibility and control over conversations, catering to the preferences of its community.

Currently undergoing trials in select markets, the new feature empowers users to adjust retention settings on a conversation-by-conversation basis. Flexibility remains paramount, with participants able to modify settings within chats and receive in-chat notifications to ensure transparency.

Snapchat underscores that the default auto-delete feature will persist, reinforcing its design philosophy centered on ephemerality. However, with the app gaining traction as a primary messaging platform, the option offers users a means to preserve longer chat histories.

The update marks a pivotal moment for Snapchat, renowned for its disappearing message premise, especially popular among younger demographics. Retaining this focus has been pivotal to Snapchat’s identity, but the shift suggests a broader strategy aimed at diversifying its user base.

This strategy may appeal particularly to older demographics, potentially extending Snapchat’s relevance as users age. By emulating features of conventional messaging platforms, Snapchat seeks to enhance its appeal and broaden its reach.

Yet, the introduction of message retention poses questions about Snapchat’s uniqueness. While addressing user demands, the risk of diluting Snapchat’s distinctiveness looms large.

As Snapchat ventures into uncharted territory, the outcome of this experiment remains uncertain. Will message retention propel Snapchat to new heights, or will it compromise the platform’s uniqueness?

Only time will tell.

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach



Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

While it is tempting to try to appeal to a broad audience, the founder of alcohol-free coaching service Just the Tonic, Sandra Parker, believes the best thing you can do for your business is focus on your niche. Here’s how she did just that.

When running a business, reaching out to as many clients as possible can be tempting. But it also risks making your marketing “too generic,” warns Sandra Parker, the founder of Just The Tonic Coaching.

“From the very start of my business, I knew exactly who I could help and who I couldn’t,” Parker told My Biggest Lessons.

Parker struggled with alcohol dependence as a young professional. Today, her business targets high-achieving individuals who face challenges similar to those she had early in her career.

“I understand their frustrations, I understand their fears, and I understand their coping mechanisms and the stories they’re telling themselves,” Parker said. “Because of that, I’m able to market very effectively, to speak in a language that they understand, and am able to reach them.” 

“I believe that it’s really important that you know exactly who your customer or your client is, and you target them, and you resist the temptation to make your marketing too generic to try and reach everyone,” she explained.

“If you speak specifically to your target clients, you will reach them, and I believe that’s the way that you’re going to be more successful.

Watch the video for more of Sandra Parker’s biggest lessons.

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