On Friday, The Daily Beast reported that crowdfunding platform GoFundMe is banning anti-vaccine activists from fundraising to promote medical disinformation and conspiracy theories:
“Campaigns raising money to promote misinformation about vaccines violate GoFundMe’s terms of service and will be removed from the platform,” spokesman Bobby Whithorne told The Daily Beast.
“We are conducting a thorough review and will remove any campaigns currently on the platform.”
“Antivaxxer” campaigns, at least those that promote an alternative product to vaccines, would appear to already violate GoFundMe’s terms of service, which prohibit “products that make health claims that have not been approved or verified by the applicable local … or national regulatory body.”
Nonetheless, such campaigns have been highly effective on the platform. Antivax activist Larry Cook, for example, has generated nearly $80,000 from various GoFundMe campaigns, and has used the money to take out attack ads against vaccines on Facebook — including some that targeted pregnant women during a measles outbreak. Cook’s website disclaims that he may also skim some of the proceeds from his campaigns to pay “personal bills.”
GoFundMe’s decision is the latest in a series of steps taken by tech companies in recent weeks to curtail false medical information on their platforms. Facebook is moving to prohibit antivax ads, and YouTube is trying to demonetize antivax videos posted to the site.
All available medical evidence shows vaccines are among the safest and most effective medical treatments in use today. But conspiracy theories about vaccine efficacy and side effects have caused many parents to delay or skip the recommended vaccine schedule, with the result that once-eradicated childhood diseases like measles, which can cause brain damage and death, are coming back.
‘Disease fanboy’: Internet slams NBC conservative for ‘rooting for pandemic’ to distract from Trump impeachment trial
Hugh Hewitt is once again under fire, this time for almost appearing to be glad a deadly SARS-related virus has been diagnosed in a patient in Washington state – saying additional diagnoses will take the focus away from the Senate's historic impeachment trial. Hewitt is a conservative Washington Post columnist, radio host, MSNBC and NBC contributor, and law professor who went from being a "Never-Trumper" to all-in for President Donald Trump.
"People care much more for their health than theater," said Hewitt via Twitter, referring to Trump's impeachment trial. The SARS-related virus, known as the Wuhan coronavirus, is named for an area of China where it was first found. It "has infected more than 300 people and killed six in an outbreak that has struck China, Thailand, South Korea, Japan and now the US," CNN reports.
Greece elects first woman president
Greece's parliament on Wednesday elected the first woman president in the country's history, a senior judge with an expertise in environmental and constitutional law.
A cross-party majority of 261 MPs voted in favour of 63-year-old Ekaterini Sakellaropoulou, parliament chief Costas Tassoulas said.
"Ekaterini Sakellaropoulou has been elected president of the republic," Tassoulas said.The new president, until now the head of Greece's top administrative court, the Council of State, will take her oath of office on March 13, he added.
The daughter of a Supreme Court judge, Sakellaropoulou completed postgraduate studies at Paris's Sorbonne university.
I spent MLK Day reading Stephen Miller’s racist emails — here’s why
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is in the pantheon of American heroes. He is honored with a national holiday. For those of us who write about American politics, life and society it is expected – rightly or wrongly – that on King's designated holiday we offer a comment, essay or some other thought about his legacy.
The expectation is even greater for black Americans and other nonwhites. Brother King was and is a gift to all Americans — and, yes, the world — but black people are the most direct beneficiaries of his struggle.
Every year brings more writing about King's legacy and the work which remains. Interviews and talks will be given. Brother King will be quoted. The "I Have a Dream Speech" and the March on Washington will be obsessively referenced by the mass media and others. Of course, the "Jobs and Freedom" part of the march will be left out.