|Over the last many months, social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube have been flooded with disinformation about COVID-19. |
We wanted to make you aware of the problem, equip you with tools for how to recognize and respond to disinformation, and enlist your help keeping our community safe.
According to numerous reports, much of this disinformation comes from organized campaigns by domestic groups or foreign governments. They rely on a mix of fake accounts, “bots,” computer automation, and algorithms to take highly emotive, knowingly untrue information and make it artificially “go viral.” The intent of these bad actors is to create confusion, seed distrust in medicine, science, and public health institutions, or heighten existing divisions in our communities.
We believe that chronic illness communities, including the ME community, may be especially at risk, perhaps even intentionally targeted, due to our high online engagement and interest in discussing medicine and science. We also have valid and longstanding grievances with the public health institutions that for so many decades have marginalized us and caused incalculable harm. These bad actors know this, and will seek to take advantage.
What they may not realize is that our community is one of the most scientifically-literate and scientifically-engaged communities on the internet. We have lived through dangerous pseudoscience like the PACE trial. We have been sold sham cures and false promises before. These bad experiences have helped make us more discerning. We value rigorous science because we know that ultimately, it is the only way to discover what causes ME and develop effective treatments.
So, thank you for helping us keep our community safe this May 12th, during #MillionsMissing and beyond. By taking great care with the information you amplify with a share, “like,” retweet, or comment, you can help us stand up for good science.