CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) — Twelve people are responsible for the vast majority of COVID-19 misinformation on social media, according to a report from the Center for Countering Digital Hate.
The report found the so-called ‘Disinformation Dozen’ is responsible for 73% of anti-vaccine content on Facebook.
“These 12 people are out there giving misinformation. Anyone listening to it is getting hurt by it. It’s killing people,” President Joe Biden said Monday.
The group of prolific social media influencers includes the nephew of former President John F. Kennedy. Along with Charlotte-area physician Dr. Rashid Buttar.
“Rashid Buttar is an osteopath physician and conspiracy theorist known for videos posted to his YouTube channel,” the report states.
Buttar, a doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, has been reprimanded twice by the North Carolina Board of Medical Examiners for unprofessional conduct.
He was also cited by the FDA for the illegal marketing of unapproved drugs.
Dr. Buttar was included in the report for posts linking the COVID-19 vaccines to infertility. In a video posted to YouTube, that has since been taken down, Dr. Buttar claimed that masks cause COVID-19.
“The one thing you should be doing if you’re worried about COVID-19, get your facemask off,” he said in the video.
At one point Buttar had nearly 50,000 subscribers on his YouTube page. Buttar couldn’t be reached for comment.
But he has spoken out against the report from the CCDH in the past.
“YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter have now de-platformed me,” Buttar said in a video posted to his Telegram profile. “I think it’s in direct response to the hit piece the ‘Disinformation Dozen.’”
Dr. Darren Linvill, a professor of disinformation at Clemson, says Buttar and the others on the list bear some responsibility for people who get sick because they aren’t vaccinated.
“Some percentage of those people are dying because they didn’t get the vaccine. And a lot of people aren’t getting vaccinated because of information they picked up on social media,” Linvill said.
Facebook says it has deleted more than 18 million posts with COVID-19 misinformation.
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