The Most Influential Spreader of Coronavirus Misinformation Online

Over the final decade, Dr. Mercola has constructed an unlimited operation to push pure well being cures, disseminate anti-vaccination content material and revenue from all of it, mentioned researchers who’ve studied his community. In 2017, he filed an affidavit claiming his web price was “in excess of $100 million.”

And slightly than instantly stating on-line that vaccines don’t work, Dr. Mercola’s posts typically ask pointed questions on their security and talk about research that different docs have refuted. Facebook and Twitter have allowed some of his posts to stay up with warning labels, and the businesses have struggled to create guidelines to drag down posts which have nuance.

“He has been given new life by social media, which he exploits skillfully and ruthlessly to bring people into his thrall,” mentioned Imran Ahmed, director of the Center for Countering Digital Hate, which research misinformation and hate speech. Its “Disinformation Dozen” report has been cited in congressional hearings and by the White House.

In an e-mail, Dr. Mercola mentioned it was “quite peculiar to me that I am named as the #1 superspreader of misinformation.” Some of his Facebook posts have been solely preferred by lots of of individuals, he mentioned, so he didn’t perceive “how the relatively small number of shares could possibly cause such calamity to Biden’s multibillion dollar vaccination campaign.”

The efforts towards him are political, Dr. Mercola added, and he accused the White House of “illegal censorship by colluding with social media companies.”

He didn’t tackle whether or not his coronavirus claims have been factual. “I am the lead author of a peer reviewed publication regarding vitamin D and the risk of Covid-19 and I have every right to inform the public by sharing my medical research,” he mentioned. The Times was unable to confirm the claims within the examine, which was revealed by Nutrients, a month-to-month journal from Molecular Diversity Preservation International, a nonprofit in Basel, Switzerland.

A local of Chicago, Dr. Mercola began a small non-public apply in 1985 in Schaumburg, Ill. In the 1990s, he started shifting to pure well being drugs and opened his foremost web site,, to share his remedies, cures and recommendation. The website urges individuals to “take control of your health.”

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