The BBC has boasted that it triggered the removal of a Facebook vaccine injury support group with over 250,000 members.
The BBC has seen several groups, one with hundreds of thousands of members, in which the [carrot] emoji appears in place of the word ‘vaccine’. Facebook’s algorithms tend to focus on words rather than images. The groups are being used to share unverified claims of people being either injured or killed by vaccines.
Once the BBC alerted Facebook’s parent company, Meta, the groups were removed.
“We have removed this group for violating our harmful misinformation policies and will review any other similar content in line with this policy. We continue to work closely with public health experts and the U.K. Government to further tackle Covid vaccine misinformation,” the firm said in a statement.
However, the groups have since reappeared in our searches.
One group we saw has been around for three years but rebranded itself to focus on vaccine stories, from being a group for sharing “banter, bets and funny videos” in August 2022.
The rules of the very large group state: “Use code words for everything.” It adds: “Do not use the c word, v word or b word ever” (Covid, vaccine, booster). It was created more than a year ago and has more than 250,000 members.
Marc Owen-Jones, a disinformation researcher, and associate professor at Hamad Bin Khalifa University in Qatar, was invited to join it.
“It was people giving accounts of relatives who had died shortly after having the COVID-19 vaccine”, he said. “But instead of using the words ‘COVID-19’ or ‘vaccine’, they were using emojis of carrots.
“Initially I was a little confused. And then it clicked – that it was being used as a way of evading, or apparently evading, Facebook’s fake news detection algorithms.”
I wonder if Parliament’s champion of the vaccine injured Sir Christopher Chope has anything to say about this? He is just about to launch a new All Party Parliamentary Group on COVID-19 Vaccine Damage.
The BBC helpfully explains that the ONS stated the risk of fatal vaccine injury last year – thus implying these people must all be wrong, or at least ought not to be allowed to talk to one another.
In 2021 data from the Office for National Statistics suggested that there was a one in 5 million risk of dying from the Covid vaccine, compared with a risk of 35,000 deaths per five million of dying from Covid itself, if unvaccinated.
Even if we assume, for the sake of argument, these figures are correct, they are not broken down by age and only cover deaths not injuries. A recent study by Dr. Peter Doshi and colleagues found that in the vaccine trials the vaccines were more likely to cause serious injury than prevent it. A recent paper from Oxford, Harvard and Johns Hopkins Universities similarly found that in young adults aged 18-30 the vaccines were 18-98 times more likely to cause serious injury than prevent it. The BBC and Facebook, on the other hand, don’t believe that these injuries exist, or at least that the injured should be allowed to speak to one another and seek mutual support.
Is that why these people pay their licence fee – so the BBC can go round banning their support groups?
Facebook says it removes content which claims vaccines are more dangerous than the disease they protect against. But what if that’s what the evidence shows? Will it remove peer-reviewed scientific studies that go against its policy?