In February, two elderly patients in Brisbane, Australia, had been given the wrong dose of the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine. Several groups swung into action. Within minutes, a page with 52,000 followers had posted a screenshot of a news headline with a text that says, "And the culling of old people begins."
Facebook's anti-vaxx action
Unfortunately, that is not the only page that has the same agenda, as another one was formed, and it has more than 30,000 followers that cast doubt on whether the dosage had been an accident and claimed that the government had made the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for Australians, but that is not true.
Despite posting wrong and potentially harmful information, the two pages have thousands of members. Almost all of them share the content, with some liking and commenting on the posts.
Compared to all of the traffic on Facebook, these two pages are just a drop in the ocean, yet the posts are important because they marked a platform test.
On Feb.9, Facebook had promised to immediately crack down on COVID-19 misinformation all around the world by deleting content that made incorrect claims about the virus and the COVID-19 vaccines.
Among the false statements that Facebook would keep a close eye on was the claim that the COVID-19 vaccine killed people.
Banned posts still circulate
ABC News had conducted a test to see if Facebook stays true to its word. The news company posted a statement that says COVID-19 vaccines killed people, but three weeks later and the post is still up.
The comment section of the post also proves that there are people who still believe the lies about the COVID-19 vaccine, with some commenting that the government will "go to cover up the effects of the deadly jab" and that "it is going to be murder on a grand scale" as the vaccines get rolled out.
Australia and some nations across the world, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, have started their COVID-19 vaccine appointments. According to the BBC, medical experts have expressed their frustration with the platform for the volume of anti-vaccine claims that still circulate.
Despite Facebook's promise to delete pages and groups that still post anti-vaccine claims, the platform seems to only act after being called out.
ABC News contacted Facebook about the fake anti-vaccine claims and even pointed out three Facebook pages and groups that continue to post banned claims about the virus and the vaccine.
One of the groups, Medical Freedom Australia, had more than 21,000 members and had accumulated 500,000 interactions from 10,000 posts since May 2020.
On Mar. 17, the page was finally gone. Facebook had deleted it for breaching its misinformation policies. Facebook deleted a second page referred to it by ABC News.
The second page, Australians vs. the Agenda, had 30,000 followers and had been growing since Facebook's policy announcement on Feb. 9. In fact, the number of followers on the page increased 30% last month. The page had 12,000 daily interactions on its posts.
Last month, the page also organized a public anti-vaccine rally that was attended by thousands in capital cities around the country. It had lately been selling branded merchandise, including hats, t-shirt, and hoodies.
This article is owned by Tech Times
Written by Sieeka Khan