This is murder and child abuse and it must be prosecuted and prevented! Hugs
Facebook hosts a vast network of groups that trade in false health information. On “Stop Mandatory Vaccination,” one of the largest known health misinformation groups with more than 139,000 members, people have solicited advice for how to deal with the flu. Members of the group have previously spread conspiracies that outbreaks of preventable diseases are “hoaxes” perpetrated by the government, and use the groups to mass-contact parents whose children have died and suggest without evidence that vaccines may be to blame.
One recent post came from the mother of a 4-year-old Colorado boy who died from the flu this week. In it, she consulted group members while noting that she had declined to fill a prescription written by a doctor.
The child had not been diagnosed yet, but he was running a fever and had a seizure, the mother wrote. She added that two of her four children had been diagnosed with the flu and that the doctor had prescribed the antiviral Tamiflu for everyone in the household.
“The doc prescribed tamiflu I did not pick it up,” she wrote.
None of the 45 comments on the mother’s Facebook post suggested medical attention. The child was eventually hospitalized and died four days later, according to a GoFundMe started on his behalf by his family.
The mother also wrote that the “natural cures” she was treating all four of her children with — including peppermint oil, Vitamin C and lavender — were not working and asked the group for more advice. The advice that came in the comments included breastmilk, thyme and elderberry, none of which are medically recommended treatments for the flu.
“Perfect, I’ll try that,” the mother responded.
Facebook groups are a hotbed of vaccine misinformation and content, said Kolina Koltai, a researcher at the University of Texas at Austin, who has studied the social media behavior of the anti-vaccination movement since 2015. Koltai said she’s seen similar posts in which women have reported that their children were sick with measles or cancer and received medically questionable advice.
“These communities have become a haven or resource for parents and for women to connect with others and ask for help,” Koltai said.
One of the biggest purposes of these groups is as a main information exchange hub. And when these groups are recommending potentially medically unsound advice, it can have a severely negative consequence.