It’s Not Just Facebook – Anti-Vaxxers are on Amazon Too

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Facebook has made moves to remove anti-vaxxer content from its platform recently. However, it might not be the only place where such content is an issue. A report on Wired showed that anti-vaxxer films do very well on Amazon Prime too. Its “customers also watched” functionality means that once users have watched 1 anti-vax film, they can easily find more.

An Amazon Prime Video a search for “Vaccine” directs people to Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe – a pseudoscience documentary directed by Andrew Wakefield, a former doctor who, in 1998, released a fraudulent and widely-debunked paper asserting a link between the MMR vaccine and autism…Amazon’s “customers also watched” bar directs Vaxxed viewers to other pseudoscientific films with names such as Injecting Aluminum, Anthrax-Smallpox Vaccinations and the Mark of the Beast and Man Made Epidemic.

Check It Out: It’s Not Just Facebook – Anti-Vaxxers are on Amazon Too

6 Comments Add a comment

  1. wab95

    chiggsy

    TLDR: There is no such thing as ‘an authority’ in medical or any science, but there is a tool to validate facts.

    Yours is a thoughtful reply to the discussion, and your argument is a common one that is routinely made, particularly in connection with vaccines; trust no one but use and common sense and trust your own eyes. ‘We’re alive because these interventions work’. Many social influencers and thought leaders make this argument in communities around the world. I have had the pleasure of working with a number of them. Your argument that scientists are human and therefore fallible is incontestable and the subject of many a publication (see SJ Gould, ‘Mismeasure of Man’ as a study on the human frailty of scientists), as is your assessment of the corruptibility of both industry and government, which are run by people subject to every human flaw. Your argument that ‘the assurances of scientists is meaningless’ is correct; and is not the accepted standard. Indeed, it is commonly accepted today that the ‘voice of authority’, be it a scientist or otherwise, is a poor model by which to ascertain facts; especially when human life is at stake. This is the easy part.

    The problem is that truth is under assault in nearly every sphere; political, social, scientific, medical, religious, legal, educational, and in virtually every industry in both private and public sectors, and that assault has recently been facilitated by the democratisation of messaging via social media platforms. This is what has eroded the ‘common sense, trust your own eyes and ears’ approach to determining what is truth. Many conclude, cynically, that all facts are equally suspect and that you should simply believe whatever you choose, or nothing at all.

    It’s about to get even worse. Because AI can now create virtual people, and can synthesise speech to overlay speeches of real people, it’s going to become harder to distinguish real from false statements attributed to real or fabricated persons.

    This scenario of information guerrilla warfare has been anticipated by social scientists for decades. What was not envisioned are the two major effect modifiers of social media and AI that will have a multiplicative effect on their impact. And even though we know that this is coming, we don’t yet have a viable response to this emerging threat.

    However, we do have a tool with which we have already responded, and that is having an impact, but it’s a subtle one and only works on those in search of honest answers. It is completely ineffective on the ideologically committed, be they scientists themselves or laypersons.

    That response is transparency. Because of the very effective assaults on evidence as the basis of fact and truth, enterprises across the spectrum have begun to adopt transparency in the processes by which they arrive at fact or truth. By laying bare these processes, observers can decide for themselves whether or not these ‘facts’ are real. But by itself, transparency is incomplete. It requires another tool; verification or validation. Not only must the process be transparent, it must be independently verified, and the verification process itself must be transparent and open to public scrutiny.

    In the field of vaccine sciences, these processes of transparency and validation are in full effect. If I decide that I want to trial a vaccine and bring it to licensure, and I get the funding, conduct a trial, and then attempt to publish it, no one will publish it or accept its findings; not in 2019. Why not? The process is all wrong. So what is the correct process?

    First, having secured the funding, the trial protocol has to be reviewed and approved by an institutional review board comprised of people not involved in the study. Second, once approved, it has to be overseen by clinical research monitor or CRO, an independent firm that will monitor and sign off on every step, every document, every procedure in real time before the first study subject is enrolled through the end of study termination, data lock and report writing. Their reputation and survival is dependent on their calling true ‘balls and strikes’, to use a baseball metaphor. If they sign off on a trial that is later found to be fraudulent, not only will their business fold, they can be criminally prosecuted. Trust me, they’re not commissioned to be the investigators’ friend. Third, the trial has to be registered on ClinicalTrials.gov https://www.clinicaltrials.gov so that anyone in the public can know its investigators, aims, design, sources of funding and follow its progress in real time. Fourth, the study sponsor, typically a pharma company or an independent funding source like a foundation, can conduct an audit at any time, and they do, of both the investigator and the CRO. Furthermore, regulators like the FDA can and do conduct audits, typically at the end of a trial, but these too can occur at anytime. This is about as much fun as a colonoscopy. Without anaesthesia. Only more invasive. Fifth, all of these documents and data have to go before the regulators before licensing is awarded, and if there are any questions about the conduct of the trial or the findings, they may again have it audited, which can even occur years later after a vaccine has been licensed. Sixth, when the investigator goes to publish the study, journals will request the full protocol and have it independently reviewed, in addition to submitting the manuscript for peer review. This can take months of intense scrutiny by independent usually anonymous experts, with most trials being rejected by top tier journals. Finally, there is phase IV surveillance via the vaccine adverse events reporting system (VAERS) https://vaers.hhs.gov long after the vaccine has gone to licensure and market, and can and has resulted in a vaccine or therapeutic agent being pulled from use. This will spawn another round of review by regulators, and can and has resulted in criminal prosecution for any malfeasance in the conduct of the trial or falsification of the data.

    In short, it is extremely difficult to conceal anything, particularly anything harmful, in a vaccine or other clinical trial, and would require a massive conspiracy across multiple independent agencies who are natural antagonists by design.

    Though imperfect, that system of multi-step, multi-party transparency and validation, and not simply the ‘assertion of scientists’, permits any interested party to go through a step by step review of how that vaccine or drug came to approval and how it has fared since; and so far is one of the most transparent and validated processes anywhere to date. As it should be.

  2. chiggsy

    Yes, it’s true that a great deal of suspicion should exist. No company in America large enough to get vaccination contract can fully be trusted to responsibly fulfil it. It’s government’s job to make sure that benefits of successful enterprise benefit the nation as a whole. This is why one does not run government “like a business.” Corporations have all the rights of other citizens, but none of the obligations, particularly under this administration. We have here a slick and subtle usage of the ad hominem logical fallacy: The anti-vaxxers arguments are flawed because they are wackos. Well, yes they are wackos, but not because of completely reasonable distrust in American institutions and corporate goodwill

    Anti-vaxxers ( what were they called before? )are in one sense being completely sensible. The assurances from scientists are meaningless because scientists don’t make policy decisions, and they don’t do marketing. They are not saints to the icy god of the scientific method. They try to nail the hot students, just like FOX execs, or Google managers. The replication crisis shows that they will say anything to get published, for funding or for tenure. For the benefits on offer, it’s often the rational thing to do. They are not emotionless and not infallible. They are just people, and any system can be gamed, and game it they do, so waving studies in peoples faces is exactly as convincing as waving scripture. Not very.

    However, in another, more important sense, this experiment has already been done. Go look out at people on the street. Do you see people hideously disfigured from smallpox? How many people with white canes got that way from rubella? People walking ok, seems like polio is a thing of the past, hmm? Or pick up a history book and see how many times the phrase “and then he died” comes after “he got a fever.” If you could go back in time, the people you would be about to exterminate with your modern superbugs would seem hideous, because of *pox scarring. This was the usual for all humanity, until recently. Now “fevers” pass like thunderstorms, not hurricanes. If I get sick, I expect to get better. It’s inconvenient, not life threatening and not a death sentence for me and the poor fools who did not sprint away from me the second I burst into a sweat on a cold day. Why?

    Vaccination is why. Every killing bug out there is still there. We do things to our immune systems to enhance our chances of survival, because the dominant form of life on the planet is microbial. Natural selection needs derailing, vaccination is one way we do it, antibiotics are another. There’s no way back.

    The big problem with science for a lot of people is the change as new discoveries are made. So much easier, is it, to pick what you want to believe. However, Facebook is hardly the gatekeeper we want. They cannot be trusted. They are in fact, carriers of memetic viruses, and as such are not to be entrusted with their restriction. Who’s idea was this? Or did this idea surface from… somewhere? I feel it was the latter. Why do people constantly demand that Facebook act as censor when they repeatedly are found to abuse the memetic power they have? Why do people feel that Facebook is like a water pipe? As a corporation, it has the same abilities as a person. What person could be entrusted to carry a message that says, “Cripple me.” So why assume a corporation, particularly Facebook and to a lesser extent, Amazon, do not act in the way they are legally entitled? Why trust them? What have they done to earn that trust? What have they done to keep it? Again, who’s idea was this?

  3. wab95

    Charlotte:

    This is a welcomed move, even if it may, in some instances, be driven by an eye towards liability, even if not by truth.

    MacHeritage: while I respect and will defend anyone’s right to believe whatever they wish, they do not have the right to claim it as fact, alternative or otherwise, without being able to substantiate it, or as in the case of more than one low income country, deprive children of life saving vaccines (Pakistan, Syria, Nigeria to name just three – thanks to bogus theories of everything from autism to sterilisation to anti-deity/religion). Repetition does not create reality.

    For those of us who work in this field, the level of rigour associated with establishing the safety of these vaccines, and the controls and documentation necessary for licensure is not only well-known, but unmatched in either volume of quality by the pseudoscientific ‘evidence’ from anti-vaccine advocates, nor does this take into account the post licensure surveillance that continues in many countries, like the USA with the VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System https://vaers.hhs.gov) that continues to monitor these vaccines with even greater analytical power to detect adverse outcomes associated with vaccines than large population-based trials. A colleague of mine has undertaken to establish a similar system in low-resource settings for the same purpose. The level and quality of evidence on vaccine safety and performance between the health community vs anti-vaccine advocates cannot be compared . Here is a link to just one of the more recent, adequately powered studies into this topic for anyone interested. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2275444

    The truly painful part of all of this is that it is left to the medical community, people like yours truly, to have to sit with, console and explain this to parents who have just lost a child to a vaccine-preventable illness. I’ve had to do this more times than I should ever have had to. And no, this burden is not shared by the anti-vaccine advocates who melt into anonymity when kids die in these communities at scale during outbreaks.

    • MacHeritage

      wab95: I know where you are coming from and what you are saying and I respect that.

      I wish it was just about my opinion but I know people who have witnessed and seen first hand the things listed, as I already stated. I also know that in countries where vaccines are mandatory (and constitutionally permitted to be such) that you can buy the non-public versions that don’t have any of the junk in them that the free pubic ones have. It costs a lot of money for each one and you have to know certain people to access them but it is possible to get the real ones in those countries. The public vaccines are not what we are lead to believe. When I read the ingredients, some of which are top secret and not released to the public right away, you see point blank that these vaccines contain things that I would never want being put into my body or anyone else I care about. It has nothing to do with the real deal, which you practically cannot get.

      I live in Canada and our constitution forbids forcing someone to get one. And as such, we also have no compensation, by anyone, for anyone injured from being given a vaccine. In the US, you only have a short amount of time (5 years I believe) to go to vaccine court and fight hard to get compensation for when someone dies or is injured from taking a vaccine. And you have to fight hard to get anything, according to all the families I have looked into. It shouldn’t be that hard. I have seen the lists (including public figures speaking out) and it is crazy that so many children and adults have to die or be permenently handicapped for the rest of their lives, all in the name of so-called immunity. And those families that this happens to, that I know of, will never ever get a vaccine again.

      Then when people get the very thing they took the vaccine to prevent, then you really start to wonder what is the purpose. Is the vaccine even in there at all? Patient 0 has been fully vaccinated between one to two times already and should not be getting that illness. But they have and do. Seen that very thing happen recently in (if memory serves correct) Washington state, as an example.

      I believe people should have the choice not to get vaccinated and to research what the negatives are. This way they can get the pros and cons and make their own decision for themselves and their children. If the vaccines do what the medical community claims, then it certainly won’t effect those who have been vaccinated anyway.

  4. MacHeritage

    The problem is that the anti-vaxxer’s, as they are now being called, are correct. Only people who are ignorant and haven’t read the inserts and done extensive research into vaccines would say that such truthful info is bad and needs to be buried so no one sees it.

    I’ve looked into it myself and I would never take a vaccine or flu shot ever. Never mind all the inside people I know that actually back up everything in that blurb above, that says “…Injecting Aluminum, Anthrax-Smallpox Vaccinations and the Mark of the Beast and Man Made Epidemic”, that Wired is condemning as pseudoscience. All that is so-called pseudoscience is very real, did happen and does happen, unfortunately.

    I wish it wasn’t true either, but it is. Sticking my fingers in my ears is not going to change it.

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