Chronicle Journal: Finance

Popular pro-vaccine Reddit page calls on founders to do more to combat COVID-19 disinformation

In this photo illustration a silhouette hand holding a mobile phone with a Reddit logo in the background.Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

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A popular pro-vaccine reddit page, r/vaxxhappened, shared a post on Wednesday calling for the site's founders to do more to combat COVID-19 disinformation spreading on the site.

The page has over 330,000 subscribers and the moderators wrote that they, "collect the outrageous and dangerous tales told by dimwitted anti-vaxxers on all forms of media."

"We could have been better off months ago, but disinformation and lies have been allowed to spread readily through inaction and malice, and have dragged this on at the cost of lives," the page's moderators wrote. "There are those who deny that the pandemic even exists, there are those who think that wearing a mask will literally suffocate you, there are those who think it's no worse than a regular flu virus, that it's a bioweapon, and everything in between. This volume of blatant misinformation is problematic and dangerous."

"It is clear that even after promising to tackle the problem of misinformation on this site, nothing of substance has been done aside from quarantining a medium-sized subreddit, which barely reduces traffic and does little to stop misinformation," they added.

Alongside rhetorical committment from the companies founders, the endeavor to fight disinformation at Reddit has largely been a volunteer-led effort.

Insider reached out to Reddit for comment.

Tech companies like Twitter and Facebook have struggled to combat covid-19 misinformation on their platforms. When Facebook data scientists requested resources to understand how far COVID-19 misinformation was reaching, they were denied. 

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

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