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    Facebook “Fact-Checker” Misinforms About Vaccine Safety

    A Facebook “Fact-Checker” feature purports to identify misinformation about vaccines while itself blatantly lying to the public about vaccine safety.

    Facebook has unveiled a new “Fact-Checker” feature* that’s now being used to supposedly combat misinformation about vaccines, but which is actually being used to propagandize. A “Fact-Checker” showing up on a popular video by Del Bigtree, host of the show The HighWire, claims that the video is presenting false information. However, Facebook itself in this case is guilty of misinforming its users about vaccine safety.

    Those in the mainstream discourse calling for efforts to combat misinformation about vaccines actually have no problem at all with misinformation. Transparently, what they instead have a problem with is any information that might lead parents to conclude that strictly complying with the routine childhood vaccine schedule recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) might not be in the best interests of their child. They have no problem with lies about vaccine safety and effectiveness as long as it’s intended to persuade parents to vaccinate their children.

    This is evident in the case of the aforementioned Facebook “Fact-Checker”. In the HighWire video, published on May 4, 2017, Bigtree states that ingredients used in vaccines include aluminum and mercury, which are both known neurotoxins, and that vaccines can cause encephalopathy, which is a term encompassing any type of brain damage, disorder, or disease. This includes encephalitis, which refers to inflammation of the brain. On the screen, he shows the product package insert for Merck’s measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, which lists encephalitis and encephalopathy among the possible adverse consequences of getting an MMR shot.

    Facebook’s “Fact-Checker” that now appears with the video states that this is “False”, adding that “Current data shows that vaccines are safe and do not cause toxicity or encephalopathy”. This links to an article on the website of the organization Health Feedback titled “Contrary to popular video claim, vaccine ingredients are safe, not linked to encephalopathy”.

    “The claim that the MMR vaccine causes encephalopathy”, the Health Feedback article continues, “is based on a misinterpretation of the vaccine package insert information.”

    The article acknowledges that multi-dose vials of the flu shot do contain thimerosal, which is about half ethylmercury by weight. But it claims that ethylmercury is “eliminated by the body quickly, unlike methylmercury, meaning that it does not accumulate in the body.”

    Likewise, the article acknowledges that vaccines can contain aluminum salts, which are used as an adjuvant, meaning a substance included in a vaccine to elicit a stronger immune response. But, the article adds, “the levels in vaccines are low and safe”.

    Also acknowledged is the fact that encephalopathy appears on the MMR package insert under the heading “Adverse Reactions”. The article argues, however, that the insert explicitly lists these “without regard to causality”, and that it is “therefore erroneous to assert a causal relationship between vaccines and encephalopathy on the basis of the package insert information.”

    Health Feedback further argues: “The claim that vaccine safety is completely unknown is false. The Institute of Medicine—part of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine—reviewed childhood immunization schedules and found them to be safe.”

    The truth is, however, that on every single one of these points, it is Facebook and its “Fact-Checker” partner who are misinforming the public.

    Last edited by Mayacaman; 05-21-2020 at 06:35 PM.
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