If you think that misinformation can only come from social media platforms then you should check out the amazing content that Donald Trump has been preaching to the citizens from his presidential forum. He has promised that the antimalarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are being used as “treatment” for coronavirus since late March and considers them to be extremely effective against the infection.
He thinks the drugs exhibit “strong, powerful signs” and can be used as a medicine if you acquire COVID-19. There’s just one little problem- it is not accurate and no medical research has proved it so far.
However, since it is coming from such a high authority who calls it “one of the biggest game-changers in the history of medicine”, the demand for the drug has increased. This goes to show that social media platforms are not solely responsible for promoting false news culture because sometimes, it can come from the president of the most powerful country.
The tests for hydroxychloroquine are still being conducted by researchers to see if it has the potential to fight coronavirus. Even though one study has displayed some positive results, overall the drug is not considered to have any sort of therapeutic effects on the patients of COVID-19.
People who are in favor of the medicine which is also known as Plaquenil, say that some patients have successfully recovered after using it. However, researchers say that it is too early to say so since the disease itself leaves a lot of room for further study.
Additionally, there is no definite proof that hydroxychloroquine “prevents” COVID-19 even though President Trump explicitly shared this information in the White House and said that the doctors suggest “taking it before the act”.
However, many supporters of Trump are saying that the President is trying his best to come up with strategies to deal with coronavirus but we cannot help but wonder if this is a way to hide his own shortcomings of eliminating a disease control task force last year. It is quite difficult to believe that these are honest mistakes as they conflict with the opinions of not just medical authorities but also the coronavirus committee that Trump specifically designed to come up with solutions.
Social media platforms are doing their best to make sure that people only listen to or relevant health care facilities as Twitter recently removed a video of Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro who claimed that the drugs were “working in all cases”.
Similarly, a video of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro presenting the information about a virus-stopping “brew” has also been taken down. Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani also claimed that the chloroquine treatment is “100 percent effective”, misquoting a New York doctor who said that the research is still ongoing. So his tweets were also removed from the site.
The fact that social media websites have to remove content from the leadership of the countries spreading misinformation about the virus is truly disappointing but not exactly surprising.
Source: The Verge
The popularity of the drug chloroquine comes from an extremely shady Facebook group that first claimed the medicine to be highly effective in the fight against coronavirus.
Wired says that the misinformation was further prompted by an online proposal written by a blockchain investor and lawyer who circulated it on the sites and the document was also shared by notable celebrities like Tesla and SpaceX founder, Elon Musk.
Fox News has also been quite active in encouraging the false news about the medicine and one host, Mehmet Oz, who is also a celebrity doctor has mentioned hydroxychloroquine more than 300 times so far. Since then, Trump also began to use it during his speeches and every step gave the drug more hype as a confirmed cure instead of a potential preventative measure.
The only surprising aspect is that we can expect this blind following from teenagers who spend most of their time on social media and believe almost anything and not from presidents of two countries who are successful businessmen.
However, the youth is the one fighting against the spread of false news culture while these supposed intellectuals are exhibiting qualities of extremely uninformed, uneducated, internet-addled idiots.
It is good to see that social sites like Facebook are policing the world leaders for once and not defending them without fact-checking the evidence. We could have disregarded the chloroquine story if it was not presented by such strong leaders of the world because that means that the false news goes through an entire circuit of authorities before it is strategically planted in the minds of people who listen to them.