Thousands of pieces of content about ivermectin, an anti-parasite medicine that has gained popularity among anti-vaxxers as a COVID-19 therapy. Much information about this medicine has been posted on TikTok, Reddit, and Facebook in recent days.
In recent years, sales of ivermectin intended for animals have grown, as have calls to poison control centers, prompting the Food and Drug Administration to publish a consumer update clarifying why people should not take the drug to treat or prevent COVID-19.
Rolling Stone discovered videos on TikTok, some of which had more than a million views, advertising ivermectin as a COVID-19 cure under hashtags such as #ivermectin4covid and #ivermectinworks, according to the sources.
Following the removal of the videos for breaching community rules and the blocking of the tags, a spokesman for TikTok stated that the company will continue to delete similar videos and hashtags.
Although many of the most popular videos on the #ivermectin tag are of healthcare experts correcting misconceptions, the hashtag is still active on YouTube.
The moderators of several hundred subreddits took to Reddit this week to urge the site to take action against COVID-19 misinformation, including deleting subreddits that disseminate medical misinformation.
“Reddit is a place for open and honest discussion and debate,” said Reddit CEO Steve Huffman in response to the demands for outright bans in r/announcements. Among them are discussions that call into question or disagree with the popular consensus. It goes on to explain that Reddit will take action when users advocate fraud or damage and that some subreddits will be quarantined to ensure that they do not show in searches and can’t be accessed without logging in.
Huffman’s article was challenged by moderators, who said that subreddits that support the use of ivermectin do harm yet have been allowed to remain online.
According to a Reddit representative, the site’s r/ivermectin and related communities are now being reviewed for removal. Reddit recently quarantined r/NoNewNormal, a subreddit dedicated to anti-mask and anti-vax activism.
Misinformation has also been spread in Facebook groups, with people posting sponsored messages to promote and advertise ivermectin for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19, among other things. In recent years, Facebook has come under fire for the large quantity of COVID-19 disinformation that spreads on the social media platform.
In the words of a spokesman, anything that seeks to buy, sell, donate, or ask for Ivermectin will be removed from the social media platform.
The company went on to say, “We also take action against any account or organization that breaches our COVID-19 and vaccination standards, including claims that Ivermectin is a sure cure or guaranteed prevention, and we don’t allow advertisements advertising Ivermectin as a therapy for COVID-19.”
Throughout the pandemic, social media platforms like TikTok, Reddit, Facebook, and other platforms have struggled to keep up with the fast dissemination of medical disinformation. Platforms have revised their regulations, provided links to government agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and deleted millions of posts. Although the epidemic persists and disinformation develops, the true remedies — social distance, disguising, and vaccinations — are the same as they have been for many years.