Is Clubhouse becoming a platform for Covid vaccine disinformation and fake experts?
The Clubhouse app is fantastic! I explored it Memorial Day weekend and was mesmerized and awed at its potential. Listening to conversations from real people all over the world inspired me to start working on my dream. There are many opportunities available to rebrand yourself using the app. You can become a self-proclaimed expert in any field, no experience required except popular content.
I believe everyone has a voice to express their opinions. However, in the last week, I questioned that belief as I see views presented as facts from self-proclaimed Covid experts, especially those claiming to be doctors. That is harmful. It costs lives. Not all doctors are the same or possess the same degree of knowledge about medicine.
I am a retired medical physician who also has a public health education. I try to stay up-to-date, especially about medical illnesses that affect our community. I am also vaccinated and well-read on Covid, but I am not an expert. The novel nature of the virus and the vaccine means no one is a true expert on the future of the virus or the vaccine.
Lately, on Clubhouse, Covid vaccines have become a hot topic among vaccinated and those who are not. While I have no regrets about being vaccinated, I am concerned about future Covid vaccine/boosters and the long-term effects. With many conflicting information and policies, it’s easy to be confused and fall prey to disinformation. Where we go to consume information is essential to our health, knowledge and mindset. Do due diligence and question your sources of information. How credible and well-vetted are your sources?
It is dangerous when so-called “doctors” misinform a public that assumes they are experts simply because of the title. At Clubhouse, unwittingly, these fake experts are given large platforms by popular moderators to spread disinformation, whether intentional or not, to communities that are dying from Covid. It appears Clubhouse does not have tools to prevent the spread of harmful lies. Instead, popularity is the name of the game. Giving an audience to conspiracies is a popular and winning tactic on the platform, and it is working against the public’s health. I heard a couple of these “experts” make false claims, such as that masks are useless prevention against Covid or vaccines can spread Covid.
We are in the middle of a pandemic with no end in sight. Please be responsible. Practicing medical doctors or DOs in specialties that treat sick patients, such as pediatricians, internists, intensivists, hospitalists, or infectious disease specialists can provide accurate but limited on-the-ground information about Covid. Chiropractors, dermatologists, and radiologists are experts in their field. I would not use them as a source of information about Covid. There are better sources such as virologists, immunologists, epidemiologists, or those with strong public health backgrounds that have podcasts and are great sources for the most up to date information on covid. Remember, Covid is a moving target and the information will change as we know more over time. There is a difference between information changing and providing misleading information as fact.
It’s incumbent upon all of us to pull together to fight Covid and reclaim our lives. To do that, we need to be transparent and disburse the most accurate and up-to-date information. Everyone should feel free to express their opinion but giving a platform to people who spread false information under the umbrella of being an expert is dangerous and costs lives.
If this post resonates with you, please like and share your views on the topic. I would love to hear from you.