· Drinking bleach will kill you.
The COVID vaccine will not make you a giant magnet and
· The vaccine does not contain microchips that Bill Gates can follow you with.
(Frankly, you’re boring, and Gates, who’s in the middle of what turns out to be a nasty divorce, has other things on his mind.)
Please join me in playing whack-a-mole as we fight online lies, misinformation and outright stupidity by people who should know better. We need you in the trenches, Keyboard Warriors. As COVID-19-related hospitalizations and deaths decline in states like Connecticut, the World Health Organization has warned of a co-common pandemic, a “disinformation infodemic.” We are inundated with misinformation about the pandemic, vaccinations and the spread of COVID. At a time when we should be celebrating the passing of 15 horrible months, we are rather swimming in ignorance. In this case, ignorance is not happiness. It’s fatal.
It matters a lot. A study at the start of the pandemic said 6,000 hospitalizations around the world could have been avoided if we had relied on reliable sources. Lies have prolonged this pandemic, thanks to an army of robots activated by gullible people.
New study from the University of California at San Diego, George Washington University and Johns Hopkins University indicates that bad bots – artificial intelligence online products that are programmed to sow distrust and misinformation – are the main sources of nonsense about the pandemic. They are effective in part because robots move at lightning speed to share information. The study said that Facebook bots averaged about 4.28 seconds between link shares, compared to an average of 4.35 hours in humans. Bots played a destructive role in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, and they remain a living parasite that feeds on fear and ignorance. The vaccine is information from reliable sources.
The study specifically looked at the misinformation regarding the wisdom of wearing masks to prevent the spread of the virus. Masks seem to be the last goal of robots and their human facilitators and to find out more about that, let’s go to Facebook.
Connecticut’s legislative session just ended, and Governor Ned Lamont won and he lost. From a pandemic perspective, however, the state has been at the forefront in adopting pandemic protocols and vaccinating its residents. But on social media, you couldn’t tell. Lamont’s office makes daily Facebook posts about COVID – tests, hospitalizations and deaths – and comments mostly lean toward admonitions that the Connecticut governor is “playing with the peoples [sic] lives ”and demanding (horrors!) that children wear masks.
(We stop here briefly to greet the righteous folks who are stepping into this and trying to inject facts into these discussions. If you follow Lamont’s page, thank folks like the third grade teacher from Connecticut who recently waded through the mud to try and squeeze in both lightness and facts. She chooses to remain anonymous because her teacher friends have had issues trying to do the same on social media. herd immunity, “she wrote recently.” Sincerely, those of us who have been vaccinated. “She was immediately taken over but retained her good humor when a poster referred to the” experimental shot. “(this was not experimental) and the poster’s own natural immunity to contracting the virus (for now, of course).” OK, “the teacher wrote.” Thanks to the 5% who have contracted COVID. “)
If a machine spat mud on a street corner, we would call the authorities, but it is information and therefore it is protected, even if it is nonsense. And in this case, the tide of lies is further spread by a local parade of anti-masks who equate good health practices with Big Pharma / Nancy Pelosi / Hillary Clinton taking away their freedom. We will add these people to our prayer lists when we have time.
For what it’s worth, it’s not just Governor Lamont (who doesn’t need any help from me) getting invaded. Recently, Gov. Charlie Baker, Republican Governor of Massachusetts, posted a photo of a little boy who has helped raise funds for cancer research. His post was greeted with passionate calls to “end mask lockdown.”
It doesn’t stop there. Governor Daniel J. McKee, of Rhode Island, posted an article on D-Day and got, from a commenter with a profile photo of what looks like a young Zero Mostel: “And now we’re shutting down all our States [sic] Savings for a virus with a survival rate of over 99%. (No, Zero. That’s an inaccurate statement, but you make it.) When he posted an article on D-Day, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu got it, from a man named Dan: are fought for the right to have a governor check telling them to wear a mask and not to go to church. (The key indicates that a bot is posting: bad grammar, misspellings, and total madness, but not necessarily in that order.)
That same week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo was live from the Javits Center giving a COVID update from New York, to which Michelle capitalized and posted “TAKE OFF OUR CHILDREN’S MASKS !!” (The sigh.)
The truth will set us free – and, ironically, it will also allow us to eventually remove our masks. Lies online can always be thwarted with facts, but it takes us all. DARPA research indicates that reading messages aloud can help you detect if the language sounds like it was created by a machine. Apply your native intelligence. Check the poster’s timeline and profile. And then, feel free to report the account – regardless of the platform – as fake. You don’t chat. You are dealing a blow to truth and democracy and you are putting an end to this sad chapter.
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