'Number 1 Super Spreader of COVID-19 Misinformation' Pinpointed by Media
16:13 GMT 25.07.2021 (Updated: 13:21 GMT 06.08.2022)
Dr. Mercola has reportedly been placed on top of the list of people allegedly responsible for “65 percent of all anti-vaccine messaging on social media. ” The ranking was compiled by the Centre for Countering Digital Hate.
An osteopathic physician from Florida named Joseph Mercola has been identified by researchers as the "chief spreader of coronavirus misinformation online," The New York Times reports.
According to the newspaper, Dr. Mercola, "an internet-savvy entrepreneur who employs dozens," has "published over 600 articles on Facebook that cast doubt on Covid-19 vaccines." He tops a list coined the "Disinformation Dozen" compiled by the Centre for Countering Digital Hate’s (CCDH) – it ranks 12 people allegedly responsible for "65 percent of all anti-vaccine messaging on social media."
While Mercola’s posts often contain questions about vaccine safety, instead of claims that they don’t work, Facebook and Twitter "have allowed some of his posts to remain up with caution labels."
"He has been given new life by social media, which he exploits skilfully and ruthlessly to bring people into his thrall," said CCDH director Imran Ahmed.
Mercola himself, however, told the newspaper in an email that, to him, it was “quite peculiar” to be named “as the #1 super spreader of misinformation.” Arguing that some of his posts were liked only by hundreds, he said he didn’t understand “how the relatively small number of shares could possibly cause such calamity to Biden’s multibillion dollar vaccination campaign.”
"I am the lead author of a peer reviewed publication regarding vitamin D and the risk of Covid-19 and I have every right to inform the public by sharing my medical research," Mercola insisted.
The newspaper points out, however, that Mercola did not identify the publication in question, and that they were unable to verify his claim, not to mention that he "did not address whether his coronavirus claims were factual."