Why Did GoFundMe Ban Anti-Vaccination Campaigns From Raising Funds on the Platform?
Crowd funding platform, GoFundMe, is cracking down on anit-vaccination campaigns on the website. According to the platform, the decision was taken to halt misinformation by campaigners.
Crowdfunders ban anti-vaccination groups from using their service…https://t.co/QVIKClMlN5— Public Health Association Australia (@_PHAA_) March 27, 2019
…on the sensible basis that their health claims are unverified.
Vaccination needs to be done with care, but it's one of the world's greatest health success stories.
“Campaigns raising money to promote misinformation about vaccines violate GoFundMe’s terms of service and will be removed from the platform,” the company disclosed.
While you may not understand the underlining issue here the move is nonetheeless quite an interesting one.
What is the Issue With Anti-Vaccination Campaigns?
For us in Nigeria and many developing countries, vaccination is a popular medical program. For decades, many families have relied on vaccination to protect themselves from measles, chickenpox, yellow fever, meningitis, among many other pandemics.
And globally, due to the need to contain diseases, vaccination is many times not subject to debate.
But in developed countries like the US, where medical systems are pretty advanced, vaccination is highly debated.
It seems like some of the GoFundMe pages of anti-vaccine activist Larry Cook have been shuttered. In total, he raised over $80,000 in donations—some of which went to anti-vax FB ads and his “personal bills.” pic.twitter.com/hx1FsncAY0— Julia Arciga (@JuliaArciga) March 18, 2019
On the one hand, there are folks who support vaccination. On the other hand, there is a rising number of people who believe vaccination is bad.
Identified as “anti-vaxxers” this latter group is largely made up of parents who believe there’s a serious connection between vaccination and diseases such as autism and other forms of brain disorder. Anti vaxxers campaign against vaccination and believe people should have a choice whether or not they or their kids should be vaccinated.
Anti-Vaxxers Believe Big Pharmacy Are Behind Vaccines
Notably, antivaxxers have a pool of conspiracy theorists who believe the whole vaccination agenda was concocted by big pharmaceutical companies.
“Whether you believe it’s true or not, everyone is entitled to their opinion,” said Mellissa Sullivan, the vice president of Health Choice Connecticut, an anti-vaxxer.
I was going to let this go as just another dumbass antivaxxer spouting off her nonsense, but then she appropriated Holocaust iconography to paint her and her idiot friends as a persecuted minority.— H.C. Marks (@HCMarks) March 27, 2019
DRAG. HER. pic.twitter.com/BspqvhFtNV
“I would hope they would reconsider. This movement needs to be able to get funds in order to fight pharma giants like Merck and other vaccine manufacturers.”
“Vaccination does not immediately save a life or treat an existing illness,” says Guggie Daily, an American blog. “They are an optional, experimental product based on an unproven theory. Informed, consenting adults can choose to take them if they want. But it’s medical malpractice to force them onto non-consenting children.”
Although America is a liberal society, anti-vaxxers have gone one up, producing documentaries and so-called “evidences” to back up their claims.
In the digital era, these campaigns amount to misinformation because no recognised health body has backed up any of their claims.
And with the power of the internet and the popularity of GoFundMe, users are vulnerable to these false documentaries. Allowing them to continue unchecked will only help spread misinformation across users.
Meanwhile in countries like Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Congo and Liberia, vaccination has helped to address extremely dangerous disease outbreaks like ebola. Misinformation campaigns by anti-vaxxers could be catastrophic for addressing other common diseases in these countries.
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