NFL player Hamlin’s collapse sparks rise in covid misinformation


The unsubstantiated tweet started going viral within minutes after Buffalo Bills safety center Dumar Hamlin collapsed spectacularly on the field on “Monday Night Football.”

Anti-vaccine and right-wing provocateurs have tried, without evidence, to link the injuries that left Hamlin in danger with the coronavirus vaccine. based on the information provided.

“This is a tragic and all too familiar sight by now, an athlete suddenly falling,” tweeted pro-Trump activist Charlie Kirk, who heads youth group Turning Point USA. His tweet has been viewed nearly 10 million times as of Tuesday.

“We all know what happened to Dumar Hamlin because it’s happened to too many athletes around the world since COVID vaccinations were required in sport,” ex-News Correspondent Max Emerald Robinson tweeted more than 2 million views, following the # DamarHamlin hashtag trending in the US.

But as of Tuesday evening, little information was known about the cause of Hamlin’s collapse. The NFL previously said nearly 95% of its players have been vaccinated, but it’s also not known if Hamlin was vaccinated against the novel coronavirus. Two cardiologists told The Washington Post that the blow to Hamlin’s chest threw his heart out of rhythm and may have blocked blood flow to his brain. They said they could only speculate by watching the video footage of the play.

But the tweet’s broad and rapid reach means that unsubstantiated claims related to the coronavirus have come to Twitter with little friction since new owner Elon Musk backtracked on the company’s policy on covid misinformation in November. The company has also restored many previously suspended accounts of individuals, including several prominent anti-vaxers. And it marks Musk’s broader efforts to undo years of work to prevent the spread of falsehoods on Twitter.

Twitter lifts ban on misinformation about coronavirus

Public health experts and social media researchers say the tweet risks further raising fears about coronavirus vaccination as cases continue to escalate in the United States, nearly three years after the pandemic began. I warn you there is.

Australian Federal University sociologist Naomi Smith says such tweets risk planting ‘seeds of suspicion’ at a time when medical professionals are urging the public to get booster shots. .

Covid misinformation is “actually killing people who take it seriously,” she said in an interview. “It’s a societal problem.”

The viral tweet was sent at a time when millions of Americans were searching for answers about Hamlin’s condition, leaving news broadcasters and sports commentators with little immediate information about the player’s condition. According to media experts, the information gap created a perfect storm for anti-vaccine activists who had led people to believe that the sudden death or sudden collapse could be related to vaccination.

How ESPN viewers learned about Dumar Hamlin’s injury

More than an hour-long video was released on video service Rumble just before Twitter withdrew its coronavirus misinformation policy in November. The video fuels unsubstantiated claims that the coronavirus vaccine is killing people. Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Green (R-Ga.) and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s Children’s Health Defense promoted the film this winter, but its creators weren’t able to catch the viral footage of the Hamlin collapse. garnered new attention.

John Gregory, health editor at NewsGuard, a company that analyzes misinformation, said, “Even in the absence of evidence, the already circulating narrative that human falls may be linked to vaccines. is really consistent with

The movie’s Twitter account quickly tweeted to over 200,000 followers, tying Hamlin’s downfall to a vaccine.

“Prior to 2021, it was not a normal occurrence for athletes to fall on the field,” the film’s account tweeted, along with footage of Hamlin hitting the field. It’s becoming a pattern.” The tweet also included a series of syringe emojis.

Brian Castrucci, head of the De Beaumont Foundation, which advocates for public health, said he was horrified by the speed at which Hamlin’s devastating injuries were weaponized by the account and other anti-vaccine hashtags.

“It’s the modern equivalent of a snake oil salesman,” Castrucci said of the film’s promoters and others. “The problem was the snake oil salesman had to go from town to town. You couldn’t reach millions of people in one tweet.”

Musk’s ‘free speech’ agenda will dismantle Twitter’s security measures, insider says

Under Twitter’s previous leadership, tweets with syringes were likely labeled with additional context, said a former employee who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the company’s content moderation. But on Tuesday, the tweet appeared unlabeled and garnered over a million views.

Twitter’s implementation of its coronavirus policies was flawed and was widely criticized by both Democrats, who said the company didn’t do enough to curb falsehoods, and conservatives, who warned the company had gone too far. A former Twitter employee said speculative tweets would be “difficult” for Twitter’s trust and safety team to handle because they are often vague and do not make definitive claims.

But researchers say it’s much easier to spot a new coronavirus misinformation under a mask than before, creating fewer barriers to its spread.

“It’s just at the top of the pile,” said sociologist Smith, referring to people’s timelines. “Previously, this information was algorithmically removed by the platform or made harder to find before Musk rolled back its misinformation policy.”

Twitter’s decision to roll back its policy may affect other social networks as well. Smith warned that deceptive tweets are likely to extend beyond his Twitter, as people are likely to take screenshots and share them in more private channels such as messages and his Facebook groups. did.

“It becomes invisible to you,” she said. “These things have a life beyond the platform.”

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *