Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Doctors demand Spotify to change policy on COVID-19 misinformation after controversial Joe Rogan episode

Malone took an anti-parasitic drug, ivermectin, to treat COVID-19, even though studies have dismissed its effectiveness.

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Joe Rogan is no stranger to hosting controversial figures on his Spotify-exclusive podcast. On episode 1757, which aired on December 31, Rogan invited virologist and self-proclaimed “inventor of mRNA”, according to his LinkedIn bio, Dr. Robert Malone on his show The Joe Rogan Experience (JRE) – for a podcast. Most listened to – which has stirred medical experts.

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Malone, who was banned on Twitter last week for “repeated violations” of its COVID-19 misinformation policy, made provocative statements on the show, prompting hundreds of doctors to sign a petition demanding “Spotify” To have a clear and moderate public policy” misinformed. on their platform”. YouTube and Twitter both already have such policies.

He explained the concept of “mass formation psychosis” to Ghent University professor Mattias Desmet, claiming that it was developing in American society in response to COVID-19, drawing parallels to society during the rise of Nazi Germany. .

Between the 1920s and 1930s, Germany had “a very intelligent, highly educated population, and they went crazy,” he said. “And how did that happen? The answer is Mass Formation Psychosis.”

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“When you have a society that’s alienated from each other, and free-floating anxiety, in the sense that things don’t make sense.” he adds. “We can’t understand it. And then their attention is focused on a tiny point like hypnosis by a leader or chain of events. They literally become hypnotized and can be taken anywhere.”

In an open letter to Spotify, hundreds of medical experts have expressed concern over the spread of misinformation and “baseless conspiracy theories” around the COVID-19 pandemic, via Joe Rogan’s massive platform of more than 11 million listeners per episode. .

“By allowing the promotion of false and socially harmful claims,” ​​the letter said, “Spotify is using its hosted media to damage public trust in scientific research and the credibility of data-driven guidance offered by medical professionals.” capable of raising doubts.”

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Unlike other media giants, Spotify does not have a misinformation policy, although the platform still has a “responsibility to reduce the spread of misinformation”, the letter noted.

“Celebrities have a huge platform from which they can amplify misinformation,” said clinical psychologist and assistant professor at the University of Calgary, Dr. Jonathan N. says Stee, a signatory to the petition. “If there is a silver lining to the pandemic, it highlights the dangers of tolerating a culture that allows pseudoscience to remain unchecked.”

Malone was previously accused of using mass media platforms to spread false studies which was later dismissed.

In November 2020, a scientific journal submitted a pre-peer review study that claimed that in a randomized control trial of nearly 600 people, hospitalized COVID-19 patients “reported a quicker recovery to ivermectin” ” Ivermectin is used to treat infections caused by parasitic worms.

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The study was pulled after eight months due to ethical concerns. Malone still shared the study in a tweet, alleging that he personally used the drug to treat COVID-19.

In July 2021, he shared with Toronto lawyer Rocco Galati, a paper titled “Safety of COVID-19 Vaccination – We should rethink policy”, questioning the “risk/benefit ratio” of a COVID-19 vaccine. was raised. The journal later retracted the study, saying, “They found that the article contained several errors that fundamentally affected the interpretation of the findings.”

“We know that health misinformation and conspiracy theories about COVID-19 are rampant,” Stee said. “They do real harm and put public health at risk.”

“People deserve to get their COVID-19 and vaccine information from reliable sources that draw their information from scientific consensus and not from recognized experts in their fields – fringe experts and conspiracy theorists,” he says.

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