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Elon Musk shared misinformation about coronavirus

2 min read
Elon Musk shared misinformation about coronavirus

Twitter announced it would be censoring its platform to stop spreading fake news about  the coronavirus. But will the ban extend to Elon Musk?


Musk, co-founder of Tesla and SpaceX, has been critical of the fuss over the coronavirus pandemic. He tweeted a paper yesterday that was brought together by two Bitcoin fans, James Todaro, managing partner at Blocktown Capital, and Gregory Rigano, lawyer and inventor of blockchain platform IKU.



It almost goes without saying that the tweet was controversial.  Joan Donovan, a Shorenstein Center social media researcher tweeted:



She explained that the study was based on another study—which Musk also tweeted. Its author, Didier Raoult, appeared on Tucker Carlson, adviser to the Stanford University School of Medicine SPARK Translational Research Program, on Wednesday. He touted the anti-malaria drug as a 100% for coronavirus.


“This is dangerous because people are now tweeting about trying to get their doctors to prescribe anti-malaria drugs. Worse, thousands of people think they can cure coronavirus by drinking tonic water,” Donovan added. The drug name is similar to quinine, a compound found in tonic water. She noted that Google searches for tonic water rose suddenly following the segment on Tucker Carlson.



Donovan pointed to weaknesses in the original study, including a small sample size and limited follow-up with the patients after the cure.


Twitter has recognized that this is a problem. It announced that it would be cracking down on misinformation regarding the virus. Specifically it said it would target, “Propagating false or misleading information around COVID-19 diagnostic criteria or procedures.”



For now, the tweets remain up—and people are still searching for tonic water. One Twitter profile summed up the whole situation,“quinine isn’t a covid-19 cure, and the bitcoin nutters will kill us all some other way.”

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