Ever since I stopped playing Candy Crush, Facebook has become little more than a sprawling, splenetic grade school/high school/college/family reunion cum livestock-medicine enema spa. I interact with about eight people on a regular basis while breathlessly waiting for the other 267 to beer-bong horse paste up their bums with varying degrees of alacrity.
Throughout this seemingly interminable (and unnecessarily lengthy) pandemic, I’ve been more than a little shocked to see ex-classmates promoting quack cures, railing against public health measures, and otherwise carrying out the pestilent dictates of their oafish ocher overlord. Last fall, one high school classmate of mine lamented getting COVID-19 for the second time, citing “bad luck.” I wanted to respond, but pity stayed my hand.
But this new wrinkle takes the cake. I just don’t know if it’s a steaming horse cake or a cow cake. Maybe both.
As you’ve no doubt seen, in order to prove they’re not sheep like we zombie-shambling, vaccine-thirsty libs, a significant number of Americans (and others) are attempting to stave off COVID-19 by taking medicine explicitly intended for herd animals. And—surprise, surprise!—they’re getting a good deal of their information from Facebook, the social media platform of wee-brained paste-eaters from the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s, and today!
Though the FDA has warned Americans not to self-medicate with the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin—in the form of horse paste, sheep drench, or any other livestock dewormer—people are still eagerly consuming it, occasionally brewing up a shit-nado or two in their Underoos as a result. Even if ivermectin was an effective treatment for COVID-19—and so far there’s little good evidence that it is—you’re still not supposed to take horse-sized doses. Mostly because you’re not a horse, which should be a given, but evidently is not.
Despite these warnings — as well as Facebook’s own policy against promoting the purchase, sale, or other misinformation about ivermectin — users on the platform are sharing ways to use ivermectin for COVID-19, with some even recommending methods for other users to acquire the drug. In fact, Media Matters has found 47 active Facebook groups with nearly 65,000 combined members centered around ivermectin and its use for COVID-19. The majority of these groups were created in 2021, and they’re based around the world, including in the United States, South Africa, Malaysia, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
Facebook has taken little action against these groups, despite other reporting on violative content about ivermectin on the platform. At the time of publication, Facebook has taken down one public group, “The People’s Medicine: Ivermectin; Safe Effective Economical (S E E),” that had already garnered roughly 17,000 members, and some posts promoting the use of ivermectin have been flagged with a banner warning users that “unapproved COVID-19 treatments may cause serious harm.” Upon clicking on the banner, users are redirected to Facebook’s COVID-19 Information Center, but they receive no other immediate information on the drug.
This should be little surprise. Donald Trump—the quack cure of presidential candidates—was promoted heavily on Facebook, and false stories about him and his opponent, Hillary Clinton, circulated widely and freely on the platform in 2016. So if people are now swallowing horse paste, it’s really nothing compared to the nonsense they greedily quaffed in the run-up to Trump’s election win.
Yes, that’s an anti-science warrior asking if they can put the paste in their anus instead of their mouth—you know, to avoid the awful taste.
And while the vaccine has its own side effects (it made me a bit tired for a day or two—especially the second shot), they’re nothing compared to what our nation’s proud horse-paste eaters are encountering.
Funny, huh? Well, not so much. Particularly since these folks are generally (dare I say “universally”?) eschewing the proven, effective, and lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines.
There are also real dangers—health-related, not just undies-related—to the use of these fake cures, and not just because they’re being promoted as a substitute for proven preventatives and therapeutics.
As the CDC noted in a recent health advisory, ivermectin, while approved for treatment of river blindness and a few other rare afflictions, is not a recognized treatment for COVID-19 and can be dangerous in higher doses.
Adverse effects associated with ivermectin misuse and overdose are increasing, as shown by a rise in calls to poison control centers reporting overdoses and more people experiencing adverse effects.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed with the American Association ofPoison Control Centers (AAPCC) that human exposures and adverse effects associated with ivermectin reported to poison control centers have increased in 2021 compared to the pre-pandemic baseline. These reports include increased use of veterinary products not meant for human consumption.
So there you have it. While folks I know from back home already have degrees in political science and immunology from Facebook University, FU isn’t done churning out diplomas just yet. It’s breeding a whole new generation of large-mammal pharmacists who know better than the FDA, CDC, and—of course—Dr. Evil himself, Anthony Fauci.
I know from past experience that these folks aren’t going to proactively right their own listing dinghies, so it’s up to Facebook to be in the adult in the room and more aggressively monitor and/or remove these sites.
Will they? We’ll see, but their track record isn’t exactly encouraging.
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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.