You know, I’m sitting here in a pandemic unvaccinated because the need exceeds the supply, and I’m willing to defer to the priorities of the society I live in and will wait until my opportunity rolls around. I am confident, because I know how vaccines and the immune system work, that vaccination is the solution that will end the restrictions on travel and personal interactions. I also know, because I’ve read the empirical studies, that masks are a good stopgap to slow the spread of the virus. I also know and trust the authorities, like Tara C. Smith and Anthony Fauci, who have made a career of studying infectious disease.
These are reasonable, informed attitudes to take toward our situation. I suspect that the majority of readers here share my ideas. These ideas are not up for debate; the question of whether the germ theory of disease was valid was resolved long ago, there’s confirmed scientific evidence behind them, and if you want to question them, you’d better be a verified expert who has gathered an immense amount of observation and experiment to back up your challenge.
And then there are the goddamned idiots who get everything they know from circle jerks on Facebook. They translated their ignorance into a mob action at Dodger Stadium, actively preventing other people from getting vaccinated.
My rage is boundless. It’s bad enough that these assholes want to run around spewing viruses on everyone, that they defy the need to take basic precautions to limit the spread, and that they are upset because those precautions interfere with the need to get their precious Fifi to the dog-groomers, but now they’re forcing everyone else to not take the best preventive action we can do? Don’t they realize that the only effective way to end the lockdown that has limited movement and social events, and to get rid of the masks that annoy them, is for a majority of the populace to get that quick little shot?
No, they don’t. Because they get all their information from their equally ignorant friends and family on Facebook.
The anti-vaccine protest that temporarily cut off access to a mass vaccination site at Dodger Stadium was organized on Facebook through a page that promotes debunked claims about the coronavirus pandemic, masks and immunization.
The Facebook page, “Shop Mask Free Los Angeles,” issued a call last week to gather Saturday at the baseball park. Health authorities have been administering shots to as many as 8,000 people a day at the site, one of the largest vaccination centers in the country. Such venues form a critical component of the effort to corral the pandemic, which has lashed Los Angeles County so brutally in recent weeks that oxygen for patients has been in short supply.
The online activity illustrates the extent to which Facebook remains a critical organizing tool of the anti-vaccine movement, despite the company’s repeated vows to curb coronavirus misinformation. It also shows how social networking services could foster more confrontational tactics by those committed to false ideas about the dangers of immunization as the mass vaccination effort ramps up.
Jesus, but I hate Facebook. I’m still on it myself, because it remains the one way I can maintain contact with far-flung friends and family, but let’s face reality: Facebook is a giant information-harvesting operation that sells all the information it gathers to other big corporations and political organizations. That it allows me to contact an aunt I haven’t seen in 20 years, or see pictures of my nieces and nephews new babies, isn’t their business model. They’re there to monitor my personal information to sell to the highest bidder. I’ve signed up for alternatives like MeWe or Mastodon (I did not sign up for Parler or Gab, for obvious reasons), but they don’t have the critical mass, and there’s no point unless all the others I want to follow sign up as well.
Facebook does not care about misinformation or privacy or propaganda. All of the assholes got their marching orders from a Facebook page that spread to other Facebook pages that have been continuously spreading lies throughout the pandemic.
The page itself has only about 3,000 followers, but the notice about what it termed a “PROTEST/MARCH” at the mass vaccination site was shared extensively in Facebook groups and on pages fixated on false ideas about masks, such as that they restrict breathing and that the Constitution forbids mandating their use. Names of the online forums include “Anti-Mask REVOLUTION!” and “Unmask California.”
The technology giant committed at the end of last year to enhancing its policies against coronavirus-related misinformation. That included a pledge to remove misinformation about the safety, efficacy, ingredients and side effects of coronavirus vaccines.
In a sign of gaps in the company’s enforcement, however, the “About” section of the anti-mask page promoting the Saturday protest included a link to a website devoted to the baseless “Plandemic” narrative accusing shadowy elites of enriching themselves by engineering the coronavirus and a vaccine for it.
Yeah, sure, Facebook is “committed” to ending the spread of misinformation, just like Twitter was so committed to ending political dishonesty that they waited until the last week of his presidency to cancel Trump’s account. There is no investment in truth and accuracy anywhere in the Facebook/Twitter/Instagram business model. They’re all about drawing in users by feeding them what they want, and if they want poison, so be it. Poison is profit for Facebook, so trusting them to do the right thing is folly.
If social media are things the public finds useful, then what needs to be done is to regulate the fuck out of Facebook, put in punishments with teeth in them for spreading misinformation, and make the company executives directly accountable for the harm they do.
Not that that will ever happen. We’re just going to wallow in the shit the goddamn idiots make.