The game’s up for antivaxxers. Some Facebook users tried to bypass moderation on the social network and avoid being banned by using a specific emoji – the carrot – but it doesn’t seem to have worked for long…
Never short of ideas, antivaxxers have been using the carrot emoji to talk about vaccines on social media while escaping moderation, the BBC has discovered. Often accused of laxity, Mark Zuckerberg’s social network has made a point of improving its moderation on health issues and, in particular, those relating to Covid-19 vaccines, focusing mainly on certain frequently used words.
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However, antivaxxers have been trying to circumvent these moderation techniques by replacing the word “vaccine” with the carrot emoji, which visually resembles a syringe. While an actual syringe emoji does exist, it would seemingly raise too many suspicions if its use became widespread on Facebook.
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The BBC discovered several groups of internet users who were reportedly using this trick to share the supposedly harmful effects of Covid-19 vaccines, which remain unproven. After being alerted to the issue, Facebook swiftly removed these groups. “We have removed this group for violating our harmful misinformation policies and will review any other similar content in line with this policy. We continue to work closely with public health experts and the UK government to further tackle Covid vaccine misinformation,” Meta said in a statement. Despite this, groups have reappeared on the social network, the BBC reports. To slip through the net, the administrators of these groups don’t hesitate to warn members not to use the “c word” for “covid,” the “v word” for vaccine and the “b word” for booster.