As we know how COVID-19 has literally taken over our lives, it is getting impossible to stay away from vaccine misinformation. As much as social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter try to control the spread of misinformation, it always gets to us in one way or another. Amidst all the chaos, we all have family doctors that we trust with our lives, telling us what precautions to take for the coronavirus and making us understand the efficacy of different COVID-19 vaccines. We only trust people we know are credible sources of information and something coming directly from a doctor would mark the information as a fact, making us blindly believe and follow their instructions, especially with COVID-19 and so much information floating across the internet and the media.
Well, now the scenario is that even a social network for doctors, highly educated and noble doctors cannot escape this trap of spreading misinformation on COVID-19, knowingly or unknowingly! Yes, according to sources, CNBC has found a good load of COVID-19 related misinformation on Doximity, a social networking platform for medical professionals. The sources have found anti-vaccine claims on the platform published by qualified medical professionals and doctors. As mentioned in a report by Engadget, the comments section under some posts on Doximity are ripe with vaccine misinformation, misguiding people on not to take the vaccine for the deadly coronavirus. Not just this, there is other information related to mask effectiveness, vaccine efficacy rates, natural immunity, and several other related topics.
As mentioned in multiple reports, Doximity says that it used to have a rigorous screening process where physicians used to screen content shared on the platform. However, in this case, the company did not respond to claims, nor did it comment on the anti-vaccine content found on its platform. Moreover, Doximity has made no confirmation on when they would remove the false mis-informational content from their platform.
As Engadget notes, this is more of a content moderation problem with Doximity. The platform is a small, closed group of medical professionals who should be going through a tougher screening process, ensuring the credibility of the information they share with the public. Misinformation on COVID-19 vaccines is far from over but the only thing that should keep us going is to get vaccinated first and then advancing the screening test for platforms like Doximity.
Facebook Inc. and Twitter have also been facing a similar issue but the difference remains that the majority of people spreading the misinformation are not doctors and medical professionals, they are simply passing on forwarded misinformation which needs to be kept in check. The same cannot be expected by doctors and this is what makes Doximity a highlight in this matter.