The masks (together with the social distancing) represent the main tool to contrast the spread of the virus, but not all are of this opinion. In fact, there are groups of users, more or less consistent, who use social networks to support the exact opposite: the masks would even be harmful to health and should be avoided. Facebook intervened as far as its competence, by suspending one of the most popular groups that carry on the campaign against the use of the masks.
The case can be considered exemplary to demonstrate on the one hand how and to what extent false information spreads on issues directly related to the pandemic and on the other how the manager of the most popular social network intervenes to counter them. The group recently suspended by Facebook was called Unmasking America, it numbered over 9,600 members and declared – what is reported on their page – that it was set up to spread the truth about masks.
Among the alleged revealed by the group were the physical problems – the lower flow of oxygen to the brain – and the psychological problems caused by the use of masks. Regarding the prevention tool, the group stated: it is a psychological anchor for suppression, slavery and cognitive obedience. When you wear a mask you are complicit in declaring that all humans are dangerous, infectious and threatening. However, the group is the tip of the iceberg of a much more widespread phenomenon.
Similar groups proliferate on Facebook: some are public, others private and very popular (for example, Million Unmasked March has more than 7,800 members). Facebook reiterates that it has adopted clear rules to combat the spread of harmful information on COVID-19, which also includes the aforementioned intervention, and confirms that it continues to screen other groups opposed to the use of masks.
Given that the advice to use masks to decrease the spread of the virus is valid in every part of the world, the story of the US groups that say no to this instrument of personal protection must be contextualized in the context of a particularly serious health situation: in the States United the deaths from COVID-19 exceeded 140,000 and the infections are over 3.8 million.
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