Facebook Suspends Anti-Mask Group For Spreading COVID Misinformation
Facebook has suspended one of the largest anti-mask groups on the platform for violating its policies against spreading misinformation about coronavirus.
Health experts across the globe have been strongly encouraging the use of face masks for months following the outbreak of the virus, and in many areas they are now mandatory in public spaces.
Coronavirus can spread from person to person through droplets, so it’s easy to see why face masks help prevent the disease being passed on.
However, some people simply refuse to believe that coverings will help both themselves and others stay healthy, and many of those believers rallied together on the page Unmasking America; a group that claimed it was ‘here to spread the TRUTH about masks!’
Because why listen to the advice of global organisations when John on Facebook says his cousin’s brother’s girlfriend’s aunt heard that masks are a scam?
Unmasking America made several claims about masks having a negative psychological impact and obstructing oxygen flow, despite the fact there is a wealth of evidence showing that the amount of oxygen in your blood is not impacted by the use of a mask.
One post stated:
It is a psychological anchor for suppression, enslavement and cognitive obedience. When you wear a mask you are complicit in declaring all humans as dangerous, infectious and threats.
Other posts made references to Donald Trump as a way of protesting mask requirements, while some shared experiences from places where masks are mandatory, The Verge reports.
Many posters asked for advice on how they could claim to be ‘exempt’ from wearing a mask, and users regularly linked to an image of an illegitimate ‘Face Mask Exempt Card’ issued by a made-up organisation called the ‘Freedom to Breathe Agency’, with one user advising others to ‘print it, laminate it and use it.’
The group is one of many claiming to ‘debunk’ masks, and Facebook took action against Unmasking America after an inquiry was raised by The Verge.
Facebook spokesperson Dami Oyefeso responded to the publication, saying:
We have clear policies against promoting harmful misinformation about COVID 19 and have removed this group while we review the others.
If a Facebook group repeatedly shares false news, the platform will put its content lower in News Feeds and stop suggesting people join the page in an effort to reduce its growth.
Promoting misinformation about wearing masks is extremely dangerous as it can prevent people from wearing them, therefore putting both themselves and others at risk of catching and spreading coronavirus.
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