Facebook groups promoting Ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment
Facebook has become more aggressive in implementing its coronavirus misinformation policies over the past year. But the forum remains a popular destination for people discussing how to acquire and use ivermectin, a drug most commonly used to treat parasitic worms, even though food and The drug administration has warned people against taking it to treat COVID-19.
Facebook has removed a handful of groups dedicated to these discussions. But according to recent research dozens more remain. In some of those groups, members discuss strategies for evading the rules of social networks.
Media Matters for America, a liberal watchdog group, found 60 public and private Facebook groups devoted to ivermectin discussion, with thousands of members in total. After the organization flagged the groups on Facebook, 25 of them were shut down. The rest of the group, which was reviewed by The New York Times, had about 70,000 members. Data from Facebook-owned social network analytics tool CrowdTangle showed that groups generate thousands of interactions daily.
Facebook said it has banned the sale of prescription products, including drugs and pharmaceuticals, on its platform, including ads. “We remove content that attempts to buy, sell or donate to ivermectin,” Facebook spokesman Aaron Simpson said in an emailed statement. “We also enforce this against any account or group that violates our COVID-19 and Vaccine Policies, including claims that ivermectin is a guaranteed cure or guaranteed prevention, and that we are not responsible for the treatment of COVID-19. We do not allow advertisements promoting ivermectin in any form.”
In some ivermectin groups, administrators — the people in charge of moderating posts and setting settings like whether the group is private or public — provided instructions on how to avoid Facebook’s automatic content moderation.
In a group called Healthcare Heroes for Personal Choice, an administrator instructed people to remove buzzwords or misspellings and avoid using the syringe emoji.
One admin said, referring to video services like YouTube and BitChute: “If you want to post a video from your boob or bitch ut e or ru mble, hide it in the comments.” Facebook rarely regulates the comment section of posts for misinformation.
Facebook said it broadly looks at the actions of administrators when it determines whether a group breaks the rules of the platform, and if moderators break the rules, it counts as attacks against the group as a whole. Is.
Groups also funnel members into alternative platforms where content moderation policies are more lax. Ivermectin vs. In a Facebook group with over 5,000 members called Covid, one member shared a link to join a channel on Telegram, a messaging service, for further discussion of “the latest good news around this miraculous pill”.
“Ivermectin is clearly the answer to solving covid and the world is waking up to this truth,” the user posted.
After The Times contacted Facebook about the Ivermectin vs. Covid group, the social network removed it from the platform.
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