Anti-Vaxxers Countermeasures Show Why It's Not So Simple To Just 'Delete' Anti-Vax Misinfo On Social Media

from the countermeasures-happen dept

It's not a new thing that those without any experience in content moderation assume that it's somehow "easy" to just find and delete misinformation and disinformation online -- but it's often stunning how little they've thought through how all of this plays out. As the White House has stupidly been using its bully pulpit to pressure Facebook into deleting anti-vax misinformation, and elected officials are threatening legislation they must know is unconstitutional, none of them seem to recognize that it's not that easy.

Anyone who has done any work related to content moderation knows this. They know that the vast majority of misinformation is not that easy to spot. First of all, it's not clear what is misinformation. You could have someone who gets something inadvertently wrong. Or, perhaps they just misread something or misunderstand something. Is that misinformation that needs to be deleted? Also, there are things like sarcasm or criticism that frequently repeat the misinformation in order to respond to it. Then there are plenty of things that may seem like misinformation but tend to just be people posting stuff that is technically true, but without the necessary context. Does that need to also be deleted? There are tons of degrees involved in misinformation, and figuring out what should stay up and what should be taken down is not nearly as easy as many commentators make it out to be.

But, on top of that, there's the simple fact that those spreading misinformation know that they may face consequences for it, and thus they adapt their techniques. Ben Collins & Brandy Zadrozny, NBC News' two excellent reporters who focus on misinformation, are noting that anti-vax groups on Facebook are effectively trying to cover their tracks in advance of any possible crackdown on the nonsense and propaganda they spew:

Some anti-vaccination groups on Facebook are changing their names to euphemisms like “Dance Party” or “Dinner Party,” and using code words to fit those themes in order to skirt bans from Facebook, as the company attempts to crack down on misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines.

The groups, which are largely private and unsearchable but retain large user bases accrued during the years Facebook permitted anti-vaccination content, also swap out language to fit the new themes and provide code legends, according to screenshots provided to NBC News by multiple members of the groups.

They also note that the groups have already set up secret "backup groups" in case their primary groups get shut down, they can immediately just switch over to the other group. And if you think that now that NBC News has reported on this, well, then it'll be easy for Facebook to find, that's silly as well. It assumes that no further countermeasures will be taken.

Beating Facebook’s moderation system “feels like a badge of honor,” the administrator wrote, followed by a crying-laughing emoji. At the end of the post, the administrator reminded users to stay away from “unapproved words,” and pointed them to a code legend on the side of the page.

Using code words to evade bans is not new among the anti-vaccine community, and it borrows from a playbook used for years by extremists on Facebook and elsewhere. The practice leans heavily on “leetspeak,” or modified language used by coders and gamers that frequently replaced letters in words for numbers or symbols during online discussions.

And, the groups seem effective at finding words that will make it more difficult to search them out:

Group members have incorporated a range of coded language to mask their discussions, many of which perpetuate debunked theories about the vaccines. “Danced” or “drank beer” mean “got the vaccine.” References to “Pfizer” generally use the terms “pizza” or “Pizza King,” and Moderna is referred to as “Moana.” Users generally play around with unofficial language about dancing to create more coded language.

For example, one group member said her husband had become sick after going on a “cross country trip where we spent 2 nights with dancers,” referring to two people who had just been vaccinated.

None of this is to say that Facebook should just throw up its hands and do nothing. But it remains stunning to me how people who just don't understand the challenges of content moderation always seem to think that (1) these things are easy to find and (2) if Facebook just took down a few accounts, these people would magically go away and the disinformation would stop spreading.

It's not that simple!

There are important questions to ask about how Facebook should handle this stuff, but anyone coming up with simple solutions that don't take into account reality -- both in the difficulty in identifying what is truly problematic and the kinds of countermeasures people will take -- isn't helping at all.

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Filed Under: anti-vax, code words, content moderation, countermeasures, disinformation, misinformation, vaccines
Companies: facebook


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 9:53am

    And then someone reporting on their secret decoder ring would probably get their post pulled first.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Koby (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 9:56am

    Counterproductive

    None of this is to say that Facebook should just throw up its hands and do nothing.

    The folks that use code words for their speech on the big platforms now consider themselves to be edgy and rebellious. The fact that they use lingo and euphemisms in their speech, and the idea that they could get demonetized or taken down at any moment seem to be giving them credibility. The channel numbers are growing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 10:17am

      Re: Counterproductive

      the idea that they could get demonetized or taken down at any moment seem to be giving them credibility.

      No it doesn't, Koby.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 10:32am

        Re: Re: Counterproductive

        I agree with you that it doesn't give them credibility Mike, but to them it does. Getting taken down is "evidence" that their truth is just being suppressed by The Man, and flying under the radar with their codewords is Fighting The Power.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          James Burkhardt (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 10:44am

          Re: Re: Re: Counterproductive

          Also note he is responding to Koby, the current resident anti-moderationist. Koby is trying to make the arguement that the constant "censorship" gives credibility to the arguments that they are being censored and Q.E.D. social media should be government so they stop censoring. Its been his recent pivot, to suggest the arguement in one post rather than actually make it over 10, which reduces the spam flags he gets.

          And the answer is no. No it doesn't. It doesn't matter if they think it gives them credibility, their claims are not legally or scientifically credible.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            OGquaker, 26 Jul 2021 @ 11:59am

            Re: Claims are not legally or scientifically credible

            From 1969 until 1983, the attempt to produce a "vaccine" against Hepatitis killed thousands of human test subjects in Taiwan, Gays in SF & NYC, et.al. The building on camera right was the "Army's center for bio-warfare" according to the head Nurse on the pediatrics ward (6th floor?) in 1979 https://s.hdnux.com/photos/01/07/15/47/18667973/7/1200x0.jpg

            "Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts"
            -Richard Feynman
            https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/israel-covid-vaccine-pfizer-effectiveness-infection-40-data-pre venting-hospitalizations-88-1.10021477

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              TFG, 26 Jul 2021 @ 12:51pm

              Re: Re: Claims are not legally or scientifically credible

              And what is your point in posting this here, and now?

              Understand, I don't doubt that this occurred - I am well aware that it occurred, and that events like this have been a large part of why certain groups of people are leery of vaccine programs, but presenting it here without making a point with it leaves it entirely to the reader's interpretation as to your purpose in doing so, which opens you up to wild misinterpretation.

              Please clarify.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                OGquaker, 27 Jul 2021 @ 12:19pm

                Re: Re: Re: Claims are not legally or scientifically credible

                Ignorance is a verb. For more than a year, (as with OJ's trial) all the public channels have been "selling" an allopathic solution to the SAR-CoV pandemic and shouting down any discussion... even when the message (NoScienceInvolved) is in conflict with our 300+ years with "variolation". One of the MD's in my clinic at Letterman was published in JAMA, a study on the results of injecting garbage subcutaneously. I was taught half a century ago that if someone is paying for advertising something, i will do fine without it. If the science and statistical arguments are out there, let's see them.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2021 @ 2:26pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Claims are not legally or scientifically credibl

                  Ignorance is a verb.

                  Interesting - care to conjugate it for the rest of us?

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  TFG, 28 Jul 2021 @ 7:26am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Claims are not legally or scientifically credibl

                  I have no idea what you're trying to say - that was a bunch of words that didn't exactly say anything specific or understandable. Can you please try again, and be a whole lot less oblique about it?

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Ian Williams, 2 Aug 2021 @ 6:09am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Claims are not legally or scientifically credibl

                  Would you like some dressing on your word salad?

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Ian Williams, 2 Aug 2021 @ 5:59am

              Re: Re: Claims are not legally or scientifically credible

              Ah, yes, a photo of a building... such credible proof that thousands were killed by hep vaccine trials.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 11:01am

        Re: Re: Counterproductive

        You're right but to them it does and only adds more fuel to the fire.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 1:33pm

      Re:

      “The folks that use code words for their speech on the big platforms now consider themselves to be edgy and rebellious.”

      Weren’t you just going on about SJWs last week?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 5:31am

        Re: Re:

        Yes. Yes he was.

        The alt-right is immune to both irony and self-awareness. Lately their talking points around "Social Justice Warriors" in particular has become rather ridiculous;

        "Waaah! 😭😭😭 Those entitled snowflaky over-sensitive SJW's are being mean to us! 🤬🤬🤬 Someone in that government of tyrants and would-be kings needs to stop them from checking our facts!!"

        • Every whiny alt-right shitwit ever.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 9:56am

    A very important question though: Are they still spreading misinformation?

    If nobody understands their message, and it's just a private group of crazies, I can't see that it's really misinformation any more.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 10:16am

      Re:

      Are they still spreading misinformation?

      Yes, and remember that humans are much better at extracting the message than algorithms, ,so what is hidden from the algorithm is easily read by humans. Also, the cult effect often keeps doubters from examining issues and leaving the cult.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 11:09am

        Re: Re:

        Hmm sounds like Facebook does/needs to (I don't use it) also block any non-approved language (for which they don't have people able to vet content) to combat misinformation. I guess they could also just flat out say: conversation in other languages isn't verified.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          TFG, 26 Jul 2021 @ 12:59pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          That wouldn't do a thing to combat this, and would only cut off a large part of their consumer base.

          Point the first: these are code-words in English. "Dancing" is a word in English, that is used most often to refer to actually dancing. Blocking languages would have zero effect on this tactic.

          Point the second: Facebook is used near globally, and in countries that have languages in the double-digits. For example, Cote d'Ivoire, a country in West Africa, has the national language of French since it is a former French colony. However, there are around 70 different indigenous languages in the country, and Facebook is used by damn near everyone who can read.

          Repeat this scenario across all of Africa - and that's just the one continent. So, any blocking of entire languages is going to cut off access to Facebook for huge communities ... and have zero effect on the tactics used by this group.

          That's before even getting into what would be "approved" or "non-approved" and even how you would implement detection of and therefore blocking of said languages: bear in mind that typos occur and just plain bad spelling rather frequently, wihch culod mkae it vrey dfifilcut to dtecet a lnaugage as Egnlsih for a cmoupetr, even though it remains entirely understandable for humans.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 11:06pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Dancing" is a word in English, that is used most often to refer to actually dancing.

            So... anyone want to guess when Techdirt will run a story about Facebook deleting a post or banning someone for talking about dancing, when they meant it literally?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 1:35pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Hmm sounds like Facebook does/needs to (I don't use it) also block any non-approved language"

          This sort of think had been tried, and failed miserably. When you try it, completely innocuous posts get blocked, while the bad actors find another way around it. Teenagers have been getting around semantic blocks for many centuries and I doubt that will change in an era where they're as clued up on the methods used as the censors.

          "I guess they could also just flat out say: conversation in other languages isn't verified."

          Do you understand the reach of Facebook? A lot of the whining comes from US conservatives, but their overall operation covers many times the population of that country, and blocking native speakers of another language because they happen to reside in the US won't exactly be good for business.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 5:35am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "sounds like Facebook does/needs to (I don't use it) also block any non-approved language"

          This has been attempted, when once upon a time a few game developers burned massive resources in order to make sure their child-friendly game couldn't get trolled by cantankerous potty-mouths.

          They knew they lost when it took their test case teen about five minutes to produce the sentence "I want to put my giraffe up your kitten".

          It just isn't possible to use actual language without including the option for people to say what you really don't want them to say.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 10:11am

    Maybe a wall isn't such a bad idea...

    For the first time ever, I'm of the belief that maybe a wall isn't such a bad idea. Build it around these anti-vax nuts, so the rest of us can move on. Because if you're anti-vaccination in 2021 after all that's happened, society as a whole needs to consider protecting itself from what are frankly, stupid people.

    I'm firmly convinced that a significant portion of the anti-vax crowd are shunning the vaccine not because they think it's ineffective, but because there's an overwhelming contempt they have against anything sensible. Its almost as if it's a competition between themselves to see who can be the biggest idiot. They'd rather bet on the horse with the broken leg somehow winning the race.

    If you can't be vaccinated because of a medical reason, so be it - they can stay outside the wall with the rest of us, where their chance of survival would be statistically better - if they choose. But if you're thinking that the vaccine contains a microchip, or is part of some big government mind control plot, then chuck that dumbass right over the wall where they can be among fellow idiots patting themselves on the back as to how 'smart' they are.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 10:57am

    If misinformation about vaccines is so easily believed, then defamation about individuals is toxic and should not receive Section 230 protection.

    Anti-vaxxers are going to cause Section 230 to be repealed, and then Big Tech can figure out how to avoid being sued. Notice-and-takedown would seem to work.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 11:08am

    This is just a question, but would the pharmaceutical industry, as powerful as they are, ever allow any studies or their results to be publicized which would show any dangers in their products, including vaccines, and negatively impact their profits?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 11:20am

      Re:

      Big Pharna does not control the doctors, and they will report problems with drugs and vaccines.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Samuel Abram (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 11:25am

        Re: Re:

        If you want proof of this, just look at the problems reported with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 12:21pm

        Re: Re:

        Just like how doctors prevented an opioid crisis after Perdue Pharmaceuticals studies didnt pan out... oh wait.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 12:55pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          There was alot more to it than the doctors in that shitshow, but sure simplify it

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2021 @ 9:28am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            No need for me to have been flagged, I was just asking a question, not trolling. Sometimes you guys shouldn't be so trigger-happy. So here's another question. When was the last time allopathic medicine actually cured anything? Not the symptoms, the underlying condition itself? And why are there laws that say only a drug can cure a disease when many natural remedies have been known to treat and prevent them for literally thousands of years?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Ian Williams, 2 Aug 2021 @ 6:18am

      Re:

      The answer to your question is "Yes", mostly because the pharmaceutical industry is not nearly as powerful as you'd like to imagine, and studies that show dangers in their products are published regularly.

      You may now return to JAQing off.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 11:10am

    "I'm firmly convinced that a significant portion of the anti-vax crowd are shunning the vaccine not because they think it's ineffective, but because there's an overwhelming contempt they have against anything sensible."

    I disagree. The FDA has approved the vaccines for EUA only, they are not fully approved. Most of this goes away once they are fully approved. So lets get on with it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 11:19am

      Re:

      most of this will not go away after full approval

      or do you think antivaxxers are only attacking the Covid vaccine?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        TFG, 26 Jul 2021 @ 1:04pm

        Re: Re:

        To double-down on this point, antivaxxers existed well before Covid-19, and are the reason behind several measles outbreaks in the years prior to the current pandemic.

        The MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) vaccine has been fully FDA-approved for nearly 50 years as of 2019 (ref: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/fda-brief/fda-brief-fda-reiterates-importance-vaccines-such-measles- mumps-and-rubella-mmr-vaccine )

        Full FDA approval won't make this nonsense go away. It would be very nice if it would, but it won't.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 1:39pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          The irony being that the reason why these people think this way is because vaccines had been so effective before they reached adulthood that diseases like smallpox and polio were distant memories for them, and many of them had those jabs. If vaccines hadn't been so effective in the past, they might be more willing to use the current one since the horrors associated with not having them wouldn't be so hidden.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            TFG, 27 Jul 2021 @ 3:35am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The irony being that the reason why these people think this way is because vaccines had been so effective...

            Well, one of the reasons why. The other reason why is that debunked terrible study (which I will not deign to call science) by that "doctor" which first suggested the myth of a link between vaccines and autism, thereby spawning a whole industry of anti-vaccine FUD.

            I remember TV commercials running back prior to 2015 that were just Scare Tactcs writ large. For a while during that time, my brother-in-law was semi-convinced, because they were saying things that were semi-believable if you didn't have the context (things like mercury in the vaccines, etc.) and given the absolutely terrible reputation of the Pharmaceutical Industry, it wasn't too large a leap of logic at the time for an uninformed but otherwise intelligent person to accept that that industry would cut corners in dangerous ways.

            With more information and the revelations of who was spreading that nonsense, said BIL is now angrily against anti-vax BS, but there's a lot that went into creating the current massive problem.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 4:53am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "The other reason why is that debunked terrible study (which I will not deign to call science) by that "doctor" which first suggested the myth of a link between vaccines and autism"

              Sadly true. Even after it was revealed that he had literally faked results to try and promote a different vaccine he was involved with, the damage was done.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 1:04pm

      Re:

      If not for the unvaccinated keeping the emergency alive and well, perhaps we could've already gotten on with it.

      Then again, don't get me wrong - I have no empathy for these anti-vax people. Their arguments are by far, some of the stupidest things I've heard of. And for 'reasonable adults' to believe that north of 600,000 people are dead for nothing, they don't deserve any.

      No, I'm all for shunning these irresponsible assholes to oblivion, with the goal of ridding the gene pool of what will likely get the rest of us killed. And before anyone chimes in on how that sounds like eugenics, does it count when the discrimination is self-inflicted?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        TFG, 26 Jul 2021 @ 1:10pm

        Re: Re:

        I don't have much empathy for them either.

        But unfortunately, their actions harm more than just themselves - their children, for example, who they raise in this fashion, and who can't necessarily get the protection they need until they're "adults."

        The regular folk who can't get proper hospital care because the hospitals are flooded with anti-vaxxers who, surprise surprise, got sick.

        The people who have actual medical reasons that they can't get a vaccine (immuno-compromised, for example), who are then put at risk by the lack of the herd immunity that is part and parcel of vaccine effectiveness.

        And the people who, while not necessarily buying into all the anti-vax nonsense, are fed enough misinformation and disinformation that they hesitate, just long enough to wind up paying for it.

        Not to say that there's anything different to do because of this ... just to keep in mind that they do harm to others as well.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 1:19pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          ... just to keep in mind that they do harm to others as well.

          Understood. I'm the one who wants to build the wall around them. For some, I'd assume it would be the best thing ever. I'd even go so far as telling them Trump made it happen and Mexico paid for it.

          That would take care of the problem with hospitals being inaccessible to those who aren't mentally deficient, and the immuno-compromised could live life with a higher degree of safety outside the wall.

          The children of these morons would be unlucky for sure, but I'm not sure it would change anything as far as their current exposure.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            TFG, 26 Jul 2021 @ 1:34pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Aside from being completely impossible with the current legal structure of the United States (such a move would be major violation of several actual constitutional rights, not to mention human rights, and to change that would require a governmental shift towards the authoritarian that I can under no circumstances support), not to mention a nigh-impossible logistical task, it wouldn't actually solve the problem.

            A physical barrier like a wall is meaningless to the current methods of communication. You'd have to cut them off from internet, from radios, from phones ... all you have to do is look at the attempts to do exactly that by other governments to realize the impossibility.

            And to top it off, now you legitimize similar actions made by other governments for even less valid reasons. "Oh, well, you know, Hong-Kong is all riddle with anti-vax misinformation dealers. Same with the Uyghurs. We're just protecting people from misinformation."

            No, sorry. I don't agree with you on this.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 1:48pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              A physical barrier like a wall is meaningless to the current methods of communication.

              It's not the communication I'm concerned about. It's the physical proximity aspect. The logic to them should be iron-clad, since they don't seem to be concerned about ladders when it comes to keeping those south of the border out.

              And to top it off, now you legitimize similar actions made by other governments for even less valid reasons. "Oh, well, you know, Hong-Kong is all riddle with anti-vax misinformation dealers. Same with the Uyghurs.

              We lost the moral high ground a long time ago when we 'tortured some folks.' That horse already left the barn.

              And your sarcasm detection system must need some recalibration - not all of us are Koby...

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                TFG, 27 Jul 2021 @ 3:29am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Sarcasm detection

                Granted, I was perhaps taking it more seriously than I should have ... but even if you weren't serious, there's probably some who are.

                ...not the communication I'm concerned about.

                That is one of the things you should be concerned about. After all, it's the communication that spreads the "disease" of anti-vaxxer ideology. Finding ways to shut down infection vectors is critical.

                Moral high ground

                On a more serious note, I don't like this argument. The high ground is not something that is lost once and forever - it can be regained. The fact that the US has violated, is violating, and will violate the rights of people doesn't mean there's no point in advocating for that not to happen any more - or in criticizing rights violations whenever and wherever they happen.

                That the US engaged in torture is irrelevant to what's happening in Hong Kong. Certainly, it can undercut messaging from the US Government that states that what's happening isn't right, but that doesn't make such statements any less true.

                So rather than advocate (even sarcastically) for fascist actions on a subset of the populace, I'll go for the anti-fascist options.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 5:46am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  "That the US engaged in torture is irrelevant to what's happening in Hong Kong."

                  If only.

                  Abu Ghraib, Iraq and Afghanistan means the US can't speak to China about Xinjiang.

                  Trump's acts against BLM means the US can't talk to China about Hong Kong.

                  Soft power relies on credibility. The US has none of it left when it concerns starting wars of aggression, occupation, ignoring human rights, sanctioned torture, voter suppression and police brutality.
                  Pressuring China economically was attempted by the screaming orange who managed to hurt the US harder than he did China with his "good and easy to win" trade war. The US economy would prefer you don't try that again, please.

                  Without soft power the sole recourse of the US is hard power - pressuring a near-peer nuclear nation with a far bigger army with invasion. Just not happening.

                  "I'll go for the anti-fascist options."

                  ...except the guy playing Benito Mussolini up until last year really doesn't have that card in hand any longer. China dropped a full house and you're sitting on a deuce of two's. The US can try to get its shit together but it won't be a player at this table until well after Beijing has "pacified" HK one way or the other.

                  Which is likely why China dropped the "one country, two systems" charade when they did. The time was right and the only country able to oppose them had disqualified itself from the contest.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jul 2021 @ 7:45am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Abu Ghraib, Iraq and Afghanistan means the US can't speak to China about Xinjiang.

                    Can't is a very strong word. They're certainly trying to right now, though granted, effectiveness is down.

                    ...except the guy playing Benito Mussolini up until last year really doesn't have that card in hand any longer.

                    I actually don't know who you're talking about right now. That description doesn't fit Biden, and if you're talking about Trump, he has no weight on the global political scale anymore.

                    In regards to the whole statement, I acknowledge that the US's credibility is and has been shit on the Human Rights side of things, but the irrelevancy I'm talking about is specifically in reference to that which is right to do. It is still right to speak out against the Hong Kong situation, against the genocide of the Uyghurs, etc. Regardless of the effectiveness of doing so, regardless of whether the US can actually intervene in a meaningful fashion, it remains right to do so.

                    In terms of dealing with the abuses by the US itself, there's this whole "repentance" thing that could pave the way forward. Admit it, apologize, and move towards it never happening again. This is where governments seem to always fail: "mistakes were made" rather than "we fucked up," for example. Credibility can be regained through actual repentance.

                    Will it happen? I'm not holding my breath. Will I advocate for it to happen? Absolutely. Doesn't matter how remote the possibility of it is, it is right to advocate for it.

                    It's also important to note that there's two (maybe more) levels to this: you have official government statements and stances, and then you have the voice of the people, the normal citizens; aka me. I have no direct control over what the government does (representative democracy and all that, I can cast my vote but I'm not their boss), but I do have direct control over what I say, do, and advocate for. I can't force anyone to listen to me, but I can and will speak out against injustice, regardless of who is perpetrating it - and it remains right for everyone to do so.

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                    • icon
                      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 29 Jul 2021 @ 7:28am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      "Can't is a very strong word. They're certainly trying to right now, though granted, effectiveness is down."

                      The appropriate word is can't all right. China will sit down and talk to the foreign government if either the foreign government has something they really want or the foreign government can make them look bad internationally. China is far more about "face" than the old USSR in that regard.
                      The US has the ability to do neither so any discussion touching on Chinese internal politics is met up front with a flat refusal to discuss it. It's not "effectiveness is down". It's "Effect summarized as zero".

                      "I actually don't know who you're talking about right now."

                      In the game of international poker the guy playing Benito Mussolini up until recently was the US administration under Trump.

                      "but the irrelevancy I'm talking about is specifically in reference to that which is right to do."

                      In the best of all possible worlds, my dear Tartúffe. Bear in mind that we live in a world where it is almost impossible for a sex worker to secure a conviction for a rapist. What do you think are the chances that a genuinely discredited party will be able to be heard, no matter how true the message? In international politics, at that. Credibility matters.
                      Credibility of the messenger matters, no matter that we would all like it better if what mattered was the content of the message. In politics I'd go so far as to say it often matters far more than the facts do.

                      "It is still right to speak out against the Hong Kong situation, against the genocide of the Uyghurs, etc."

                      That is true. I'm just saying it will cut no ice with China - or the international community - since the US has squandered its ability to project soft power and can't rip China's face off by playing the shame card credibly.

                      "...and then you have the voice of the people, the normal citizens; aka me."

                      This is a laudable stance, and I'm in full accord with you.
                      Sadly it is also irrelevant what you and I (or the saner majority of people in our respective nation) believe, until that belief itself has become the core principle of our elected representatives.

                      I personally believe China chose this exact time to tear up the provisions of the sino-british treaty explicitly because at this point in time there is no one able or willing to pressure them into backpedaling. The same way they stepped up the Xinjiang "pacification" under Trump (and, I'm guessing, Tibet).

                      What TFG said about the high ground - that it can be regained - is true enough. But until you are securely standing on top of that ground your voice won't be heard.

                      And that's the problem right now. The US has been notably subdued. The diplomats know speaking out too loudly won't just be useless - it'll smear the US with the label of hypocrisy as well, because that's the way both Putin and Emperor Xi will cheerfully play it.

                      There are no good options on the table. And the principled option only means handing more ammo to the rhetoric of the opposition who are eager to keep the well poisoned for as long as they can swing it.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2021 @ 6:24am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  there's probably some who are.

                  Sadly, I agree with you.

                  After all, it's the communication that spreads the "disease" of anti-vaxxer ideology. Finding ways to shut down infection vectors is critical.

                  Understandable, but at what point do we admit that it doesn't work? We can pick whatever metric you'd like - death toll, economic toll, social toll. I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that these people are on a kamikaze mission. And trying to be rational with them is not working. That's been tried for the last 5 years. At some point you need to cut bait and let them sink.

                  The high ground is not something that is lost once and forever - it can be regained.

                  I agree, by cleaning our own house first - otherwise it gets used against you, like Putin did at the last summit. The only problem that I see TFG is that there's no broom, mop, swiffer, or lysol in sight.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jul 2021 @ 7:34am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Understandable, but at what point do we admit that it doesn't work?

                    What do you mean, it doesn't work? It does work, just not perfectly. For one, it takes a long, long time to stamp out this kind of nonsense, and it takes more than just this type of moderation control, such as properly funded educational departments so that the schools can educate properly (among other things, I'm sure, I'm in no way an expert).

                    But to just give up and let it go loose is to make "perfect" the enemy of "good." Even forcing them to switch to code words makes it harder for them to spread their message to the uninitiated - it's not perfect, but it's far, far better than nothing.

                    At some point you need to cut bait and let them sink.

                    It's not them that I'm worried about sinking, it's vulnerable others who might be suckered in by their bullshit.

                    I agree, by cleaning our own house first - otherwise it gets used against you, like Putin did at the last summit. The only problem that I see TFG is that there's no broom, mop, swiffer, or lysol in sight.

                    My point is that there's no benefit in saying "we've already lost the moral high ground, might as well double down on the bad behavior." Regardless of what the higher-ups do, you and I can still control what we advocate for. So again, not going to advocate for fascist options, even to control anti-vaxxer nonsense.

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                  • icon
                    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 29 Jul 2021 @ 7:34am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    "I agree, by cleaning our own house first - otherwise it gets used against you, like Putin did at the last summit. The only problem that I see TFG is that there's no broom, mop, swiffer, or lysol in sight."

                    I'd almost want to make the case that since the US has rid itself of all the modern methods of sanitizing it's own house, the only option left on the table comes from older times of sanitizing a source of pestilence; "Burn the dead, Salt the earth, meet the plague with fire!".

                    You aren't going to clean up american politics with a few waves of a mop and a bottle of lysol, even if you had one. There's more rot in the walls than wood, by now.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 5:42pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          their children, for example, who they raise in this fashion, and who can't necessarily get the protection they need until they're "adults."

          It's ridiculous that governments don't recognize the freedom of religion/conscience/body of children, and allow them to be oppressed by irrational beliefs of parents. Where I am, an adolescent can walk into a pharmacy alone and get a vaccine without anyone telling a parent. The pharmacist just needs to be convinced they're mature enough to understand their decision. If your area doesn't allow this, lobby your politicians.

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      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 1:43pm

        Re: Re:

        "No, I'm all for shunning these irresponsible assholes to oblivion, with the goal of ridding the gene pool of what will likely get the rest of us killed."

        The sad thing is, this won't happen. More likely, their kids who are less likely to die as a result of the disease, will live on potentially with long covid, or potentially with no effect. Then, the same failures in education, empathy and history that led us here will continue.

        "And before anyone chimes in on how that sounds like eugenics, does it count when the discrimination is self-inflicted?"

        The major problem is that it doesn't affect just those people, and the longer they're able to breed new variants, the more likely it is to affect people who did the right thing.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 1:54pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          The sad thing is, this won't happen.

          I know, but I can still dream right?

          The major problem is that it doesn't affect just those people, and the longer they're able to breed new variants, the more likely it is to affect people who did the right thing.

          I'm aware...but the wall! Build the wall! Don't take my utilitarian dream away from me too, Paul! :)

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      • icon
        urza9814 (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 3:20pm

        Re: Re:

        The antivaxers are far from the only problem though. The vaccinated ones acting like it's a 100% effective full immunity aren't helping much either. We know the vaccines aren't 100% effective at preventing symptoms. We suspect they're even less effective at preventing infection. We know that vaccination can create a higher rate of asymptomatic carriers, which is one of the biggest problems with covid to begin with! If the mask mandates had stayed in place we could have stopped this. With the current tactics, we can only hope the vaccines alone will be enough, and it doesn't look like they will be.

        Wear your damn masks, people!

        It legitimately feels like our elected officials are trying to keep this pandemic around sometimes...every time we start to make progress they all trip over each other racing to roll back protections before the rates can fall too far..and then the rates start to climb again and everyone acts like it's a complete mystery why...

        TL;DR: the world is full of idiots and anti-vaxxers are merely one particularly potent strain...

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        • icon
          urza9814 (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 3:29pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Oh, and in addition to "wear your damn masks", stay the heck out of crowded bars and clubs and such! I really don't think those morons are any better than the anti-vaxxers. This global pandemic is not magically ended just because you personally got a somewhat effective prophylactic! It is not party time yet! An anti-vaxxer who stays home is still a MUCH lower risk than the unmasked vaccinated guy at a rave...

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 1:37pm

      Re:

      The problem there is that a lot of the opposition comes from people who find it suspicious that the vaccines were approved for emergency use so quickly (even though this is easily explained by the emergency situation and prior research). If you think that rushing though the total approval will sway opinions, I think I have bad news for you...

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 11:14am

    reality -- both in the difficulty in identifying what is truly problematic and the kinds of countermeasures people will take

    Moreover, we need to consider the effect of deleting misinformation. How can we effectively fight against misinformation if we can't see it? And if people feel that "one side of a debate" is being supressed, how will that affect the perception of the "good" information? It's like when retailers are suspected of deleting negative reviews: it devalues the positive reviews, which seem less credible when they can't be refuted.

    (A family member had basically a 5-day-long flu, with the worst headache of their life, as a vaccine side-effect. I had a rough 24 hours after both shots. Still, we'll all be in line for whatever boosters are advised. People were dying in large numbers in our area, and now there are very few known to be infected. And like 90% of deaths are among unvaccinated people. Vaccine refusal by eligible people really sucks for those who legitimately can't develop an immunity.)

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  • icon
    Bloof (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 11:17am

    On the plus side, as we saw with nazi groups and their switch to babytalk to try and mask the hate, it's a lot harder for them to recruit when people need super secret decoder ring to decipher the gibberish they spout. It's why the likes of Koby want an end to content moderation, so they don't need to 'hide their power level' and can just openly normalise hate and lunacy.

    Companies will always have to play whack-a-mole with stupid, doesn't mean they shouldn't try.

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 12:55pm

      Re:

      That does seem to be a pretty solid upside to be sure in that their efforts to hide from moderation also means it's a lot harder for them to rope in more converts because anyone who just wanders by is likely to see nothing more than nonsensical rambling but by a bunch of loons(which they are, just not in that way).

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  • identicon
    christenson, 26 Jul 2021 @ 11:27am

    Flagging??

    Maybe, just maybe, flagging content as questionable, just like we do on Techdirt, or twitter did, might be a better tool???

    If the consequence of misinformation is only to get flagged as BS, it leaves little incentive to go hide it.

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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    restless94110 (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 11:30am

    Curious

    Why would you want to delete an opposite point of view? Especially in lite of all of the facts coming out revealing the dangerous effects for some of the vaccinations?

    Always in previous times if even 20 people died after being vaccinated that was sufficient to halt vaccinations. So now, it's in the thousands and you write that we need to censor that news?

    For why?

    Could you start making sense? And making it soon?

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    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 12:10pm

      Re: Curious

      Why would you want to delete an opposite point of view?

      It's not an "opposite point of view," it's directly misinformation that is causing people to die. There's a difference between "a difference of opinion" and "blatantly false information that lead people to do things that will kill them."

      Always in previous times if even 20 people died after being vaccinated that was sufficient to halt vaccinations. So now, it's in the thousands and you write that we need to censor that news?

      This is blatantly false misinformation.

      For why?

      Because people like you are literally causing people to die. I don't know if you do it for shits and giggles or if your honestly this stupid, but stop it.

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      • icon
        Bloof (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 12:41pm

        Re: Re: Curious

        Judging by their post history, they're one of those people who want the world to burn because they feel it'd hasten the return of the GOP to power. Doesn't matter to them how many people die, as long as Trump or someone in his mold return to punishing non whites, women and the gays.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 1:38pm

        Re: Re: Curious

        It's not an "opposite point of view," it's directly misinformation that is causing people to die.

        Perceptions do matter, and if people perceive that one "point of view" is being censored, they're likely to mistrust the other "point of view". Even if this "conflict" is complete bullshit, people have built up a strong expectation that every story must have two conflicting sides; no more, no less. Their misinformation-based actions are likely to become even more incomprehensible to those of us on the "right" side when we can't see the misinformation (or understand it, due to secret codewords).

        I have no solution, but am skeptical of things that give a group the ability to play the victims. They're gonna milk that for everything it's worth.

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      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 5:23pm

        Re: Re: Curious

        Wait.."Always in previous times if even 20 people died after being vaccinated that was sufficient to halt vaccinations. So now, it's in the thousands and you write that we need to censor that news?

        This is blatantly false misinformation. "

        What part is blatantly false? The CDC confirm that around 3.5K deaths were "connected" to the covid vaccine, but they won't confirm that they were "caused" by the vaccine. This falls a little closer to unproven than misinformation.. but whatever.

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        • icon
          Samuel Abram (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 6:05pm

          Re: Re: Re: Curious

          correlation ≠ causation

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Lostinlodos (profile), 29 Jul 2021 @ 7:25pm

          Re: Re: Re: Curious

          Because… context.
          3500 deaths, even directly, pales compared to ~320,000,000 lives saved by the vaccinations.

          The problem is when you say oh wow, 3500 people dead: you create a moral panic.

          When you dive into that report you find the same thing you find in any injection.

          Some people are allergic to the salt mix used to carry it. Some are allergic to nickel, used in the needles.

          I’d personally blame the latter, nickel, before the actual liquids.
          The large volume of people with some level of reaction: Apx 20% (17% women and 3% men). https://doi.org/10.1021%2Ftx9002726
          3500 people is just about 1% of the population of this country. And we’ll within the range of fatal nickel allergies.

          But again, that’s 1% of the population. The needs of the many.
          For a small subset, it’s more than dermatology issues. It’s fatal.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 7:33pm

        Re: Re: Curious

        *you're

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    • icon
      Bloof (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 12:38pm

      Re: Curious

      So how many people have been rendered magnetic by vaccines then? How many people have died due to exposure to shed proteins from the vaccinated? How many people have found the microchip that is supposedly inserted with the vaccine? How many people were left infertile? How many people have had their 'god gene' turned off and lost all religion because they took a vaccine? How many of the BS claims you people have made have turned out to be true?

      You can't take a victory lap because a medicine has very rare side effects and claim that means you were right continually claiming the the vaccine is a one hit kill that will have your soul fed-exed to satan.

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    • icon
      ECA (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 12:46pm

      Re: Curious

      "if even 20 people died after being vaccinated that was sufficient to halt vaccinations. So now, it's in the thousands "

      Lets see, you like numbers?
      ?Out of those Counted and infected the numbers are Near 3% death rate.
      Out of the counted and gotten the Shot? Millions compared to Thousands?

      Its not bad what you are saying, its the numbers and Where you got them. This is like TV, an actor representing a Doctor, ISNT A DOCTOR. Having a person that is a dentist, isnt a Virologist giving the SAME info.
      Looking at a situation, YOURSELF, you must look at everything, NOT 1 opinion of whats happening. Like watching a hockey game and a person says the score Will be for this or that side, but dont tell you how the game is played and HOW the other team lost.

      Get it? Got it? very good.

      I could point fingers at this and that, about how the Virus started, and never tell you HOW it got spread. Understanding that this world has made transmission EASY, world wide, Is abit simple, but Many just want to Blame. ROC/Taiwan, LOCKED UP FAST as soon as they saw a few people that had been to China get sick. Even after the WHO wouldnt answer any questions ROC had of what was happening.
      Go look up Legionaries Disease, what caused it and how it got spread. Then feel proud you werent in those families.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 1:12pm

      Re: Curious

      Why would you want to delete an opposite point of view?

      Well, to be honest, if it's only the unvaccinated with 'muh freedums' as the reason for their lack of vaccination, I'm fine with leaving it up, and letting Darwin sort it out. We would certainly have been done with this pandemic by now if not for those simple-minded pieces of shit. Believe me, there's a lot of people at this point going 'meh, fuck those morons and their alternate facts.'

      You dumb fucks are sure going to lose a lot of company once natural selection says 'fuck your freedum!'.

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      • identicon
        TFG, 26 Jul 2021 @ 1:15pm

        Re: Re: Curious

        See my other comment for my response to "leave it up, and let Darwin sort it out": https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20210722/10092747224/anti-vaxxers-countermeasures-show-why-not-so- simple-to-just-delete-anti-vax-misinfo-social-media.shtml#c394

        TL;DR - the antivaxxers don't just hurt themselves with this shit.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 1:20pm

          Re: Re: Re: Curious

          See above - maybe Trump was right about the wall, but wrong about where to put it.

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          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 28 Jul 2021 @ 7:28am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Curious

            Honestly, the way shit is going I can only see the US in a perpetual state of low-intensity feud between Dumb and Smart people in the future.

            At some point the smarter majority are going to start voting people into office who are less interested in bipartisanship and more interested in getting the malicious clowns away from decent people.

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      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 1:22pm

        Re: Re: Curious

        If the only people who suffered and/or died from nurgle cultist garbage were the nurgle cultists then it would be a self-solving problem and I'd agree that it would be fine to just let the problem sort itself out, sadly however they get a lot of other people infected and/or killed in the process which means society can't realistically just sit back and let them kill themselves with their stupidity.

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      • icon
        ECA (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 1:47pm

        Re: Re: Curious

        I pointed out to a few people.
        Its no the death toll,
        ITS WHO YOU INFECT.
        Another person that agrees with you, and idnt get the shot, you kid goes to school, with the infection, and spreads it to others.
        WHOSE kids are going to die? maybe 2% and then MAYBE someone holds you responsible. Those same people that DIDNT get the shot, are NOW suing you, for wrongful death.
        That 1 person that has the Virus, talks to you without a mask. You go home infected, but not to bad. You mother/grandmother catches the infection. Tell me how you feel.
        Or you Spouse gets it, and has a major reaction, ends up in the hospital for 3 weeks. Even if they get out alive, she has major medical problems. And the hospital has bills to pay. 3 weeks at $1000 (cheap) per day $21,000 on the LOW END. Not counting the future bills.

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 1:47pm

      Re: Curious

      "Especially in lite of all of the facts coming out revealing the dangerous effects for some of the vaccinations?"

      Please, cite the evidence. I suspect you're referring to easily debunked propaganda, but please cite your sources.

      "Always in previous times if even 20 people died after being vaccinated that was sufficient to halt vaccinations."

      In trials involving a few hundred or maybe a thousand, not in mass vaccinations in the face of a worldwide pandemic that gets million vaccinated, in fact billions across the world.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 2:41pm

      Re: Curious

      Especially in lite of all of the facts coming out revealing the dangerous effects for some of the vaccinations?

      Are you talking about the very rare blood clots associated with the AstraZenica? From the BBC report

      Based on the Germany data alone, if you vaccinate a million people then you would expect 12 to have a blood clot and four of them to die.

      But if a million 60-year-olds catch coronavirus then around 20,000 would die of Covid-19.

      The risk from Covid19 is far far higher than that from the vaccine.Indeed using that problem as a reason not to get vaccinated will kill many more people than the vaccine.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 2:58pm

        A few versus a LOT

        The risk from Covid19 is far far higher than that from the vaccine.Indeed using that problem as a reason not to get vaccinated will kill many more people than the vaccine.

        That really should be the silver bullet to the nurgle cultist garbage in that even if their claims of autism and whatnot were accurate vaccines would still be better than the alternative.

        You can live with autism, death not so much.

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        • icon
          Samuel Abram (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 4:04pm

          Re: A few versus a LOT

          You can live with autism, death not so much.

          I for one, have been living with Autism all my life. It's an extremely liveable spectrum of disorders.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 6:42am

            Re: Re: A few versus a LOT

            "I for one, have been living with Autism all my life. It's an extremely liveable spectrum of disorders."

            Oh, gods...you were vaccinated? 😱
            The horror!
            .../s

            On the more serious note, yes, being on the spectrum is something an astonishing amount of people are, most of whom may not even have noticed it, it being written off as a persistent personality quirk and a penchant for self-medicating with too much coffee.

            Also, for many cases of autism there's medication, therapy, or, in some cases, a rewarding career as an artist or programmer.

            The same can not be said for Covid "long haulers" or, uh, those who died from it.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 6:38am

          Re: A few versus a LOT

          "That really should be the silver bullet to the nurgle cultist garbage in that even if their claims of autism and whatnot were accurate vaccines would still be better than the alternative."

          The problem being that the average gormless lackwit among the alt-right may truly believe this shit - whether it's their fear of Bill Gates putting RFID chips in the vaccine or their fear the vaccine's another Tuskegee experiment, or the idea the vaccine spreads the disease, will cause their children to become addicted to sex, drugs and rock'n'roll, or turn them all into autistic mutes - doesn't matter. But the nurgle cultists you mention disseminating these grimdark fairytales...those all know what they're spreading is rank bullshit.

          They just don't care, because if the result is the libs squawking over the fact that clueless rubes and morons die then it's all good. The object being, after all, to own the libs, fear the other, and make sure their own party gets more seats next election, by hook or crook.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 7:02am

            Re: Re: A few versus a LOT

            Yeah, you hit on the two major problems here. One is that while the grifters don't believe everything they're saying, their targets often do, and they're trained not to believe the opposing viewpoints (i.e. actual facts) that disprove the original programming.

            The second is that they're also trained to suffer for a greater cause. They'll take death and destruction so long as the "libs" they "own" suffer more. The fact that there's a possible situation where everyone is better off escapes them - someone has to suffer, and they will work to make sure it's not them who suffer the most.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 5:36pm

        Re: Re: Curious

        "But if a million 60-year-olds catch coronavirus then around 20,000 would die of Covid-19."

        It's not reasonable to assume that 100% of the unvaccinated would catch SARS-CoV-2. If we say 10% or 1% of them may catch it, the statistics will still strongly favor vaccination, and I think a realistic argument is a more respectable one.

        There're also myocarditis and pericarditis, as side-effects of the mRNA vaccines. They're rare, and most affected people recover quickly with no treatment. Again, the safest course of action (short of living in a bubble) is to get the vaccine, and just be aware of symptoms to watch out for.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2021 @ 6:27am

        Re: Re: Curious

        Are you talking about the very rare blood clots associated with the AstraZenica?

        If he's located in the US, that would be even more ridiculous since it isn't approved for use here. But far be it from me to let my facts get in the way of his paranoia.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 12:33pm

    strange, very strange

    Its a wonder this type of thing hasnt worked in the past. :)
    A gov. that gets tons of letters or a Corp that 'Says' that no one minds look at all this data. :)
    How many Companies have setup Fake companies to give them faked data?
    How many companies created to create faked data, have Very important names, but are designed to give the customer Exactly what they want in data?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 1:25pm

    The underlying problem, of people wanting to believe internet randos over their doctors, is not solved by attempts to silence the randos.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 1:34pm

      Re:

      Perhaps, but if the nutjobs are harder to find then they're less likely to convince people to join their insanity and after/as you do that you can work on other tactics to try to convince people that yes, the people who spend years/decades in the field of medicine know more than the people who've only ever stepped foot in a doctor's office as a patient.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 2:08pm

    Slightly off topic - travelling a lot to Russia, I have some anecdotal evidence that social media, including Facebook and instagram is much more permissive there with anti vaxxers - resulting in a lot more of people refusing to take the sputnik jab, even though it is available (I had my sputnik shot in February because it was the first I could do, got decent antibodies count and soon I will be due for a second one in eu). Funny is - when I talk to people in Moscow, they say that they would take Pfizer, if only it were available in russia. Which made me think, combined with the fact that all the (very rare, compared to the numbers of doses) problems with astrazeneca were also asymmetrically amplified. We will never know how Pfizer is working with Facebook, but I think that there is at least some collusion in place between social media platforms and pharma companies. Too much money and power at stake. The white house was and still is playing to boost its international leverage, and these bills and bullying are so obviously bizarre that they smell of lobbying to me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 9:46pm

    Until they force Rand Paul to admit on national television, and not blink in morse code hes being forced to do it, that CoVid is real & the vaccine helps nothings getting better.

    If not for the fact these maskholes manage to kill others with their self centered 'muh rights bullshit' we could just let them off themselves.

    We still have idiots in ICU's still saying they will not take the vaccine, even as Covid almost killed them b/c its only emergency approved... no one had the balls to ask him why he was taking Resdimiverve (sp) which also is only emergency approved.

    These assholes think they are winning by evading bans, winning matters more than if they manage to kill other people.

    Elected leaders in this country are encouraging this sort of behavior... what the actual fuck.

    Its not social media that is the problem, its society. You have the GQP darling screaming how wearing a mask is just like the Holocaust & they did NOTHING to her that mattered... because Trump likes her.

    We have a DENTIST screaming he knows the truth about the virus trying to discredit a man who actually knows what he is talking about trying to spin yet another conspiracy that is going to kill people. Isn;t reckless disregard for human life something they can be punished for?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 2:24am

      Good news/bad news as it were

      These assholes think they are winning by evading bans, winning matters more than if they manage to kill other people.

      I've said it before and I'll say it again, as much as Covid has shown how many real heroes there are out there, people who are willing to make sacrifices and even put their lives on the line to help others it has also shown just how many seriously warped sociopaths are also out there, people who don't give a damn who suffers and dies around them so long as they personally are comfortable and aren't inconvenienced, and that's if they're not doing so out of sheer petty spite, flaunting rules and suggestions because they'll be damned if they listen to those know-it-all doctors and medical experts.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That Anonymous Coward (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 6:49am

        Re: Good news/bad news as it were

        I FEEL SEEN!
        I'm a warped sociopath and I'm fully vaccinated.

        The problem is the reckless disregard for human life shown by elected officials.
        They made the virus, the vaccine, mask mandates into political purity tests.
        They encouraged people to believe their rights were in danger & to resist.

        I'd love to see the DOJ bring DeathSantis up on charges to hold his dumb ass accountable for the sheer number of people he helped kill with his lies.
        We can sue a bartender who overserves people, but we can't hold officials accountable for serving up lies as factual opinion?
        If we can not trust elected officials to put human life over political purity testing, we need to remove them from society.

        But we've managed to make sure that even if they tried to do that it would just be played as yet another attack on Trump because some assholes still think that no one actually died or Doctors faked death certificates to get paid more.

        Covid it could be the chlorine we need in the shallow end of the gene pool but they keep coughing on other people just to be assholes.

        It wouldn't be the first time but perhaps its time to just round them up into camps & call it a day.
        We can issue an apology to the 5 who manage to survive 20 yrs later.

        Of course I'm a sociopath so I have no problem with hospitals refusing to admit the infected who refused to be vaccinated, why waste resources on those who did it to themselves on purpose? I would rather the medical staff put the effort into saving someone who couldn't be vaccinated, who masked up & did their best till some maskhole decided throwing a fit over having to wear a mask coughed on them & infected them.

        GQP wants to be a death cult, its time to remind them that they have to sacrifice themselves faster to gain power. Get in the volcano... or wood chipper, whatever works faster you plague carrying assholes.

        The WH is worried how making being vaccinated a mandate might play out, exactly how many more people need to die before they make that call?
        The GQP leadership is vaccinated, how do their followers ignore this rather glaring logical failure?

        Pretty sure courts have ruled in the past that someones rights end where someone elses nose begins, no ones rights includes being able to murder other people with a preventable disease.

        Now that my minds on a roll one wonders if we can draw a direct line from the politicians giving anti-vaxxers a pass to what we have today. They let pseudoscience that it might cause autism based on debunked research and imaginary vaccine contents & let them send their unvaccinated kids to school so they could infect others. They didn't have the will to say, no... dude is a quack and an actress claiming she knows the magic diet to fix autism isn't a real thing. Now those loonies feel empowered & Karen on Facebook is the trusted expert all must bow before.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Lily May, 27 Jul 2021 @ 9:30am

          Re: Re: Good news/bad news as it were

          The politicians are part of the problem for sure, but the societal divide is what enables them. That deep distrust between people that lets them believe that major parts of government and society in general are out to harm them.

          There are anti-vaxxers everywhere in the world. But only in America do they get mainstream political support. This isn't because half the country is stupid or crazy. It's because a significant number of people think the other half is their worst enemy.

          That's what allows Republicans to spin their gobbledygook about the whole pandemic being "fake news" and not get laughed out of office.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            That Anonymous Coward (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 7:40pm

            Re: Re: Re: Good news/bad news as it were

            No this is 100% on the politicians.
            They create the fear and seperation...
            Obama is coming for your guns!!!!!!!!!!!
            Every abortion is murder!!!!!!! But don't hold the Sacklers responsible.

            Trump was the final cherry on the shitshow that is politicians fearing that 1 millions moms is actually 1 million women and not 1 Karen... for the record it is just 1 Karen.
            Keeping the right vs the left keeps society from asking how the hell Cocaine Mitch keeps getting reelected when his state is in the lowest rankings...

            They've built this entire culture war that didn't really exist to keep themselves in power. Add in Faux News claiming masks kill more people than the virus & these elected officials lying to the public to stay in Trumps good graces...

            Now they are trying to pretend Jan 6th didn't happen & if it did the Democrats caused it. They have riled people up to the point they successfully stormed the capitol & they are so terrified of them they can't even investigate how it happened because they might turn on them next.

            The first civil war was about slavery (and hey it only took until like the 1980's that we finally started pretending they were actual people) how shitty is it going to be that the next civil war is going to be over mask mandates and the death toll isn't going to be people fighting each other it will be those infected as the maskholes manage to breed a variant that makes Delta look like getting the sniffles.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 28 Jul 2021 @ 8:29am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Good news/bad news as it were

              "No this is 100% on the politicians. They create the fear and seperation..."

              Sadly, no. Shady politicians are everywhere. And nowhere do they find such fertile ground to work with.

              This issue comes from the sizeable proportion of the US citizenry which has been taught to ignore fact in favor of faith, openness in favor of bigotry, and empathy in favor of "Fuck your feelings!".

              Sure, politicians have fed and nurtured that toxic landfill but from the start this was a herd of braying aggressive sheep frustrated that life growing up wasn't like they'd heard it should be when they were kids and saw fit to blame every ill of their existence on "the libs". And now they're so addicted to grievance they'll accept ANY bullshit story, coming from ANY brimstone preacher or scapegoat grifter, just as long as it manages to feed their habit of hate. Losers in life, desperately afraid of not having anyone lower than them on the totem pole they can spit on.

              No, the politicians were just the grifters showing up to the land of the willfully dumb and gullible.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      OGquaker, 27 Jul 2021 @ 10:37pm

      Re: Isn;t reckless disregard for human life

      Isn;t reckless disregard for human life something they can be punished for?
      No.
      https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/09-152.pdf

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2021 @ 1:37am

    MTG has obviously got the shot too since when she was asked she tried the boring line about tbe questions violating HIPPA instead of proudly showing her idiot supporters she didn't get it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 4:21am

      Re:

      Most of these people are grifters, yet while they act stupid for their base they usually have a sense of when to stop. With a lot of the Republicans and Fox types who have made an about turn recently, they know they can't come straight out and say "yeah, we were vaccinated already just like Trump was", they have to pretend to stand by their previous statements without coming straight out and saying "we were grifting you morons". So, vague denials with the shield of HIPPA it is...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Lostinlodos (profile), 29 Jul 2021 @ 7:28pm

    Honest question

    What harm could a group do if the entirety of a conversation is in code? You figure you’re already on that point of view if you can understand that code and they’re not able to communicate to outsiders what they believe.
    So does such a situation actually harm anyone? Other than dancing around a ban?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That Anonymous Coward (profile), 29 Jul 2021 @ 9:03pm

      Re: Honest question

      The world is more than Facebook.
      That ancient tv commercial for shampoo... and they'll tell 2 friends & they'll tell 2 friends and so on and so on.

      While it might be in code they all have the ovaltine secret decoder ring & they keep spreading it.

      Here is the harm. VICE has a story about a survivor of Stillman Douglas who's own father believes it didn't happen & his child is a paid crisis actor. He is dealing with his own PTSD, grief, & everything else and his own father is saying you were never in danger. Not like he can talk to other survivors, he refuses to bring the toxic to them. His mom won't help & hes finally decided to just cut ties with them for his own sanity & wellbeing.

      His own child was almost murdered in a school shooting that he now believes was totally a false flag & daily accuses his child of being an actor & sellout.

      Thats the harm.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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