The group said: “Other adverts featured Judy Mikovits’ anti-vaxx conspiracy theories, who featured in the notorious Plandemic film, and adverts placed by Robert F Kennedy Jr’s Children’s Health Defense campaign that promote health misinformation about both vaccines and 5G mobile phone signals.”
A new survey states that nearly one in six Britons will refuse a coronavirus vaccine when one comes available.
The findings come as large anti-vaccine sentiment spreads across social media, posing a threat to efforts contain the disease.
The poll was carried out by YouGov for the Centre for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), and found that 16% of British adults will ‘probably’ or ‘definitely’ avoid a COVID-19 vaccine.
The survey of 1,663 people also found there was a difference in people’s sentiment towards the vaccine based upon if they got news from social media or traditional media.
Those who got their news from traditional media platforms were nine percentage points more likely to definitely or probably get a vaccine.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, the 150 largest anti-vaccination social media pages and YouTube channels have collected about 8 million more followers.
The 400 outlets in the sample have a combined following of 55 million people.
On those pages, false conspiracy theories are often shared such as one that spread the rumour that Bill Gates created the coronavirus pandemic, that vaccines cause coronavirus and tests for the vaccine have caused women to become infertile.
The majority of the followers are on Facebook, despite Facebook officially opposing anti-vaccine content in 2019 with policies to reduce the spread of posts that have ‘exaggerated or sensational health claims’.
At the time, a Facebook product manager said: “People come together on Facebook to talk about, advocate for, and connect around things like nutrition, fitness and health issues. But in order to help people get accurate health information and the support they need, it’s imperative that we minimise health content that is sensational or misleading.”
Both Facebook and Twitter have enabled advertising opposing vaccination, despite bans on such promotions on both sites.
Adverts come from influences such as David Wolfe who is deemed by the CCDH as ‘an anti-vaccine wellness guru’ who promoted a popular panacea, colloidal silver, as “my #1 recommendation under the current crisis”.
In a statement, a Facebook spokesperson said: “We are working to stop harmful misinformation from spreading on our platforms and have removed hundreds of thousands of pieces of COVID-19-related misinformation.
“We reduce vaccine misinformation in News Feed, we don’t show it in search results or recommend it to you on Facebook or Instagram, we don’t allow it in ads, and we connect people with authoritative information from recognised health experts.”
Boy, 15, arrested after teenage boy stabbed to death outside school
He’s the second person to be arrested
A teenage boy has been arrested following the murder of a 15-year-old on Wednesday.
The suspect, also 15, was picked up by police after student Khayri McLean was stabbed to death in Huddersfield.
He has now been arrested in connection with the murder.
He’s the second person to be arrested as police investigate Khayri’s death outside his school.
West Yorkshire Police said: “Police investigating the murder of 15-year-old Khayri McLean in Huddersfield have arrested a second youth in connection with the incident.
“The 15-year-old male was arrested yesterday and is currently in custody. A 16-year-old male who was arrested yesterday also remains in custody.
“Officers from West Yorkshire Police’s homicide and major enquiry team (HMET) are continuing to conduct enquiries into the death of Khayri, who died after being stabbed on Woodhouse Hill, Huddersfield, on Wednesday.”
Kwasi Kwarteng scraps cap on bankers’ bonuses in first mini-budget as Chancellor
NEWS JUST IN
Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng gave his first mini-budget in the House of Commons this morning.
He began by discussing the government’s plan to support people with the cost of energy, including freezing domestic bills at £2,500 and giving out the £400 rebate.
There’s also unit price limits for companies.
Kwarteng said he believes the UK needs a ‘new approach for a new era’ to achieve growth of 2.5%, saying the three important parts of his mini-budget are reforming the economy’s supply side, tax cuts and a responsible approach when it comes to public finances.
As part of this, the Chancellor announced a new bill to overhaul planning restrictions, saying this will ‘unpick the complex patchwork of planning restrictions and EU-derived laws’.
He revealed that benefit claimants will see their benefits reduced if they do not fulfil their job searching commitments.
Kwarteng also confirmed that the cap on bankers’ bonuses will be scrapped, following reports that he would make this one of his first moves.
As well as that, the planned corporation tax increase has been cancelled, and will remain at 19%, with the Chancellor also setting out a series of tax cuts for businesses.
This includes tax cuts for businesses in designated tax sites for 10 years, accelerated tax reliefs for buildings, and no business rates to pay for newly occupied business residences.
Drag Race UK star Cherry Valentine has died aged 28
NEWS JUST IN
Drag star George Ward, known as Cherry Valentine, has sadly passed away aged 28, it’s been confirmed this morning.
Ward’s family announced the news, describing his death as a ‘profound shock’.
He appeared on series two of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, before going on to front the BBC documentary Gypsy Queen And Proud.
According to his family, Ward – who was raised in Darlington, County Durham as part of the Traveller community – died on Sunday.
He qualified as a mental health nurse back in 2015 before he began his career in drag.
Ward’s family said in a statement: “It is with the most heart-wrenching and deepest sadness to inform you that our George – Cherry Valentine – has tragically passed away.
“This will come as a profound shock to most people and we understand there is no easy way for this to be announced.
“As his family, we are still processing his death and our lives will never be the same.
“We understand how much he is loved and how many lives he has inspired and touched. All we ask is for your patience and your prayers in this time. We love you Georgie.”