Facebook Likes Affect Mortality Rates?

According to an article from Ragan’s Healthcare Communication News, a hospital’s Facebook likes have a direct correlation to the hospital’s mortality rates, and worse, might even be a contributor to the increase in mortality rates. Say what?

Here’s the quote, “…in fact, mortality rates increase as ‘likes’ decrease.”

This can’t possibly mean that if you unlike a hospital’s Facebook page (thus decreasing their likes) you are contributing to the increase of the mortality rate at that hospital, could it?

After checking out the source for the Ragan article, Greatist News, it was clear that Ragan had, in fact, applied a wicked spin on the findings.

According to Greatist News, “A decrease in hospitals’ mortality rates showed a higher average of likes…” Now that makes more sense. Hospitals stop killing patients and they tend to get more likes on Facebook.

Notice how the Ragan article twisted the original phrase to make it seem as though the Facebook likes were a contributing factor to mortality rates, rather than a consequence of the increase or decrease in mortality rates.

To make matters worse, check out the vastly different approaches each article used for tailoring a headline.

Greatist News (the original article):

Facebook links linked to mortality rates at hospitals

Ragan’s Healthcare Communication News:

Facebook links linked to mortality rates at hospitals

The Greatist News headline says, “Hey – here’s a little something interesting.” The Ragan’s headline says, “Holy $#*%, is our Facebook page killing us?!”

However, I will give Ragan some credit – excellent wordplay between “Life and Death” and the subject of mortality rates. And, hey, they got me to read it.

—Ryan Varney


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