Keep in mind that testimonials, anecdotes, unsupported claims, and opinions aren’t the same as objective, evidence-based information.You can be more confident in the quality of medical information on a Web site if people with credible professional and scientific qualifications review the material before it’s posted.

Some Web sites have an editorial board that reviews content.

Others put the names and credentials of the individuals who reviewed a Web page in an Acknowledgments section near the end of the page.

If it isn’t obvious who runs the Web site, look for a link on the homepage to an “About This Site” page.

Here are two ideas that may help you evaluate health information in social media: Your search for online health information may start on a known, trusted site, but after following several links, you may find yourself on an unfamiliar site. For example, on the NCCIH Web site, each major page clearly identifies NCCIH and, because NCCIH is part of NIH, provides a link to the NIH homepage.

You can find NCCIH’s privacy policy at gov/tools/privacy.htm#privacy.

You should always be able to contact the site owner if you run across problems or have questions or feedback.

Web sites usually have a policy about establishing links to other sites.

Some sites take a conservative approach and don’t link to any other sites.

Some link to any site that asks or pays for a link.

Others only link to sites that have met certain criteria.

The presence of “.org” in an address doesn’t guarantee that a site is reputable; there have been instances where phony “.org” sites were set up to mislead consumers. The source of funding can affect what content is presented, how it’s presented, and what the site owners want to accomplish.