Anti-Vaxxers!

Otherwise known as COVID-19 Misinformation Spreaders!

(Excuse the sarcasm)

Now, you may be wondering why I would even consider giving these people more of a platform. That is a very fair point and one that is in the back of my mind as I write.

However, these small protests have stemmed from a larger wave of fake news circulating the internet.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, reining in the spread of misinformation on digital media has been the priority for many governments and platforms. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and several other social media sites have worked to contain fake news and punish users who present misinformation to their followers.

Celebrities such as Pete Evans recently had his Instagram account deleted after repeatedly sharing debunked claims about COVID-19 and vaccines. A once staple of Australian television has now announced that he will be running for a seat in the Australian Government for a fringe party called the Great Australian Party.

Celebrities and public figures sharing these horrific theories with their followers is bad enough. But, when politicians also start to support conspiracy theories, the problem only becomes worse.

Introducing one of the worst politicians I’ve ever seen – Craig Kelly. He gives these debunked theories a platform, has no reputable sources to support his claims and crumbles at any confrontation. If you’d like some entertainment, you can watch him utterly disintegrate as he is confronted by one of Australia’s greatest politicians, Tanya Plibersek.

In Australia, are these small fringe groups a real threat to overcoming the pandemic? In reality, it seems unlikely. There is little traction, and with the rollout of vaccines beginning today, every Australian will hopefully be vaccinated by the end of 2021.

But, we still must find solutions to online misinformation that carefully balances the right to free speech and government overreach.  This is a global problem, and it requires a variety of approaches to cover all bases. This could include bolstering non-regulatory measures such as verification through third-party fact-checking, using AI to remove harmful content and supporting quality journalism and academic research.

We require a clear direction, and we need a collaborative approach by all parties involved. That will allow us to overcome the spread of fake news, prevent conspiracy theorists from having a platform, and still allow people to think critically.

Finally, I’m sorry for giving individuals such as Mr Evans and Mr Kelly more of a platform than they deserve. I felt it was necessary to provide some context and examples, but it will be the last time they are mentioned on this blog.

There is nothing to protest about in Australia. The vaccine rollout is beginning, the pandemic is starting to slow down, and a little bit of patience will take us through to a new world – without masks.

9 thoughts on “This Week On Let’s Find Something To Protest About That Is Based On Zero Scientific Evidence

  1. I think we all know globally that there’s been a Right Wing festering for years.. and sadly it seems Trump has managed to jump onboard to inspire them to come forward, Our exporting of American fads at work. I hope you make it through your period of discontent better than we have. Although.. since Biden has won there’s been the expected (and very welcome) lessoning of “breaking news” chaos. Biden has mandated the mask wearing across the country in all federal buildings (he does not have the authority to mandate that on the general public here) and there’s been a lot less bitching from the Right. BTW,,, about a week ago I got the first shot.. a Moderna vaccine, and yesterday my significant other got the Pfizer shot. No after-effects for either of us. I qualified for this stage in two ways.. I’m in an essential profession (security) and I am an old fart. Hope you folks Down Under do well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Doug, good to hear from you! World politics certainly changed in 2016 when Trump was elected, and it will be interesting to see what follows now that Biden has taken over. I hope we see a rise of more moderate progressive parties, as the global issues impacting each nation (such as climate change) require a collaborative approach. That’s great to hear! I’m in one of the last stages of the vaccine, but that’s okay!

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  2. I can understand and almost emphasis with why members of the public end up becoming “anti vax”, due to feelings of mistrust of the establishment etc. But it makes me angry to hear about politicians and celebrities spreading anti vax propaganda. They ought to know better, especially politicians, and this could potentially cost lives.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Victoria, thank you for your comment 🙂 Yes, I definitely agree with your perspective. This pandemic has been going on for over a year now, so I can understand why people are looking for different answers/excuses/justifications. As you’ve said, the problem lies with those who have a platform. Being able to share information to a large group of followers comes with a huge responsibility, and some celebrities and politicians have failed at this task at the worst time possible.

      Liked by 1 person

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