A month after Facebook said it would expand efforts to scrub its platforms of vaccine misinformation, false narratives about the Covid-19 vaccine are still flourishing in public and private Facebook communities.
OneZero found dozens of anti-vax groups, public and private, some of which have tens of thousands of users. The sheer abundance of anti-vax material in Facebook groups suggests that the company’s current tools and strategies aren’t enough to tackle even surface-level vaccine misinformation.
Facebook has not released a progress update since its blog post last month, and it did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This story was co-authored by Dr. Rumman Chowdhury, CEO of Parity, an enterprise algorithmic audit platform company.
“The algorithm did it” has become a popular defense for powerful entities who turn to math to make complex moral choices. It’s an excuse that recalls a time when the public was content to understand computer code as somehow objective. But the past few years have demonstrated conclusively that technology is not neutral and instead reflects the values of those who design it, and it is fraught with all the usual shortcomings and oversights that humans suffer in our daily lives.
Three nights before Christmas 2016, I was standing in my bathroom when a gallop broke out across my chest. It was ventricular tachycardia, a dangerous kind of arrhythmia where only one side of the heart pumps and does so at high speed, denying blood from moving through it. At the age of 23, I’d had arrhythmias all my life, but had never felt anything like this. Twenty minutes later, with the arrhythmia still going, I was in the back of a parked ambulance. Alone with the EMTs, I braced for the shock of a defibrillator.
The pain was overwhelming, like…
Several winters ago, I watched as my old classmate Cindy was publicly dying on the internet.
I did this on Facebook, where her wisecracking, self-deprecating tone suddenly gave way to a somber third-person announcement that Cindy had been secretly battling chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), a little-known neurological disorder with wide-ranging symptoms.
Cindy and I were not friends, exactly. We were acquaintances who had known each other in middle and high school in suburban Ontario. But we reconnected on Facebook in 2014, when she sent me a friend request shortly before the news of her illness broke. …
Over at Future Human, our staff writer Emily Mullin writes that a crop of new biotech companies have sprung up to provide better alternatives to breastfeeding. While infant formula, which is based on animal milk, has been around for decades, it differs from human breast milk in many ways. Harnessing advances in biotech, researchers are finding ways to create milk that’s as close as possible to the real thing. Companies are finding ways to synthesize humanlike nutrients, “grow” breast milk in the lab, and even use it to deliver medication.
The advances are cool, but they don’t address the core…
Yesterday, Amazon unveiled a new health and fitness tracking wristband called Halo, along with a subscription service and app, to rival existing wearables like the Apple Watch and Fitbit.
The $100 gadget comes with new features beyond what existing consumer health devices already offer: one that measures your percentage of body fat and another that analyzes your emotional state by listening to the tone of your voice. Like other wearable trackers, it also monitors physical activity, heart rate, and sleep phases.
One of the oldest and largest North American life insurers, John Hancock, is partnering with Amazon to offer its…
OneZero: What is Big & Mini?
Aditi Merchant: Big & Mini is a nonprofit organization that works to connect young adults with seniors (typically over 60 years old) to form mutually beneficial connections and combat loneliness. It is a virtual platform, so all you need to join is a computer or phone. After going through a quick application process and background check you can be connected with someone who has similar interests and is from a different generation. The two individuals are able to talk with one another and learn about each other’s life experiences. …
Instagram has a delightful ability to surprise me with ads for pointless objects I absolutely can’t live without. A little box that sanitizes my keys with a blast of UV light? Yes! A subscription plan for growing micro-broccoli? Why wasn’t I informed sooner?? A meal delivery service whose products appear to consist exclusively of colorful liquids in fancy glass bottles? Sign me up!
Recently, though, I was scrolling through Instagram and saw an ad for a product that I almost couldn’t believe: the Pavlok.
The ad features a GIF of a person wearing a Fitbit-style wristband, with the text “Eliminate…
Last week, I dropped by my recently reopened gym to restart my lapsed membership. As soon as I walked in the door, a woman pointed an infrared thermometer at my forehead.
I was instantly anxious — not because I felt sick or thought I had a fever but because it was about 100 degrees outside, and I worried about what would happen if my face was too hot.
This is The Color of Climate, a weekly column from OneZero exploring how climate change and other environmental issues uniquely impact the future of communities of color.