A Labor MP’s Facebook post has gone viral for all the wrong reasons, after the comments section was inundated by anti-vaxxers spreading misinformation.
On Saturday, MP Julian Hill shared an image of himself receiving the jab and encouraging others to do the same.
The post quickly took off, gaining over 30,000 comments – many of which questioned the safety of vaccines and accusing Hill of “coercing” his followers.
According to Auspol Posts, the post was the most engaged piece of social media content from any Australian politician last week.
However, most concerning were comments left by users falsely claiming to be from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
The comments included what appeared to be a fact sheet – with the Australian Government’s logo – claiming there had been 210 COVID-19 vaccine deaths and 22,031 COVID-19 vaccine adverse events.
The fake TGA information sheets can still be found in the comments section on Hill’s original post.
Hill has since responded to the anti-vaxxers, pointing out “many comments on this post are spreading misinformation about COVID and vaccines”.
Hill also suggested that this misinformation is being allowed to spread due to “the absence of a proper national public health campaign to combat misinformation.”
The TGA has also responded to the spread of the misinformation, pointing out that it is a criminal offence to falsely represent a commonwealth body.
“The alleged posting, particularly of the false information of the death counter from ‘Covid-19 vaccines’ with the department’s and TGA’s apparent endorsement, is particularly concerning,” the TGA said in a statement.
“The TGA will assess the information provided in the enquiry and refer the matter to the Australian federal police as an offence under the criminal code as appropriate.
“If evidence of a Facebook post is provided or found the TGA will also engage with Facebook.”
Facebook recently revealed it had removed more than 14 million pieces of content that were deemed Covid-19 misinformation, including 110,000 posts from Australian pages or accounts.
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