Everyone on this planet has been affected by the SARS-Cov-2/Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic. You may have been in lockdown, you may have been forced to work under some form of duress, you may have lost a loved one to the disease, you may be left with long term side effects of the illness, you may have found that regular food, housing, and/or medical care is less attainable or more expensive now.
We could have been better off months ago, but disinformation and lies have been allowed to spread readily through inaction and malice, and have dragged this on at the cost of lives. There are those who deny that the pandemic even exists, there are those who think that wearing a mask will literally suffocate you, there are those who think it's no worse than a regular flu virus, that it's a bioweapon, and everything in between. This volume of blatant misinformation is problematic and dangerous.
It is clear that even after promising to tackle the problem of misinformation on this site, nothing of substance has been done aside from quarantining a medium sized subreddit, which barely reduces traffic and does little to stop misinformation.
The disinformation and false information is manifold. There is no area of recognised safety procedures when it comes to battling the spread of a dangerous virus that is not under attack here. All empirically proven measures which can help save lives are under attack. Masks work1 , but not according to the propaganda. **The vaccine is safe,**2 it is not untested, and it is not experimental technology or DNA manipulation, but people getting their information from these propaganda subreddits are told the opposite. Social distancing is valuable3 , but people are being persuaded to not even do that. Cynical plays on emotion are made. Trying to keep children safe is painted as "child abuse". Lies are repeated so frequently that misinformed people begin to believe them wholeheartedly, trusting that they can't be incorrect because they're surrounded by people who believe it also.
There needs to be a more active involvement in preventing the spread of the disinformation that is keeping us within a pandemic that at this point is entirely manageable. The main problem with a concerted disinformation campaign is that such a message attains an air of legitimacy through sheer volume of repetition. This is dangerous when it comes to unsafe medical advice such as promoting the ingestion or injection of cattle dewormers, a known side effect of which is sudden death4 , or such as trying to convince people that a tested, FDA approved vaccine will cause death. There is a good chance that the disinformation that reddit is currently inundated with will necessitate people a stay at the toxicology department in the hospital or even cost them their lives. There can be no room for leniency when people are dying as a result of misinformation on this platform. Reddit as a global platform needs to take responsibility here.
We are calling on the admins to take ownership of their website, and remove dangerous medical disinformation that is endangering lives and contributing to the existence of this ongoing pandemic.
Over 10 million subscribers:
1-10 million subscribers:
500k - 1 million subscribers:
If you moderate a subreddit that wishes to join, simply crosspost and sticky this post, and then let me know that you are participating.
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