Viewpoint: Experts must ‘shut down’ junk science on social media before it causes real damage

[A] new study by the Pew Research Center found over two out of three Americans (68 percent) now get at least some of their news from …. Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. Yet …. a majority (57 percent) …. say they expect the news they find there to be largely inaccurate.

Today, in the midst of the Social Media Era, lies in the form of fake news can gain critical mass faster than ever, with potentially dire consequences for public policy and global health.

The prevalence of fake news on social media, and consumers’ willingness to share such stories even while mistrusting their accuracy, is ripe for exploitation by those with nefarious agendas …. [anti-vaccine activist] Robert F. Kennedy Jr., has also branched out to crusading against GMOs by helping win a preliminary $289 million jury decision against Monsanto over …. its best-selling Roundup weed killer product …. much of the argument made by Kennedy and attorneys for the plaintiff, who claimed Roundup caused his cancer, rests upon shaky science.

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Social media outlets …. certainly have an obligation to pull fake news stories …. not to be confused with legitimate opinion pieces …. from their sites, but …. [a]t a time when it’s too easy for false information to go viral, scientists, public policy experts and political leaders must help shut down …. these claims before they can morph into actual movements and cause real damage.

Read full, original article: Social Media Is Fueling Anti-Science Agendas

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Click the link above to read the full, original article.

12 thoughts on “Viewpoint: Experts must ‘shut down’ junk science on social media before it causes real damage”

  1. You’re scum. I hope glyphosate is regulated out of existence and I will advocate for the same as much as possible. I didn’t feel as strongly before but the hypocrisy of capitalists and free market people wanting large swaths of censorship when an unfavorable narrative appears is so irritating that I now have to be more active. I’m actually glad you wrote this article. People hate to be censored and if they know you and your puppet masters at Monsanto are advocating to shut them up, they will also oppose you more strongly.

    • Goad is an idiot. Monsanto no longer exists. The issue here is malicious totally false lies targeting our hard working farmers and scientists. When YOU come up with an effective herbicide replacement for glyphosate that is virtually non-toxic, we will make you our hero. We will erect a bronze statue of you. Conversely, when YOU stupidly rant about a vital farming tool that has no replacement, we will see you as an enemy. Not “Monsanto’s” enemy, but an enemy of the human race’s need to feed 7.3 billion people. YOU tell US what is less toxic than glyphosate, which is 43% less toxic than table salt, and yet it will prevent crop losses by weed incursions. We are all ears…….

    • Why is he scum? On a risk benefit analysis glyphosphate still comes out on top compared to other chemicals, even discounting ghost written papers, etc. Junk science is junk science. Alar was banned because of junk science, which necessitated increased use of provably more toxic chemicals. People freaking about new genes in food, when we’ve been inserting new genes slowly for millennia. People neutralizing the chlorine in their autistic child’s bathwater with hyper expensive non gmo ascorbic acid…news flash…ascorbic acid is ascorbic acid, it’s all the same, and it’s all non gmo as 99.99% of the world supply is synthetic, so your snake oil salesmen are laughing all the way to the bank. Homeopathy…where water remembers the molecules in it even when diluted so much there isn’t a single one left, but somehow *doesn’t* remember the urine of every animal it’s been exposed to since the beginning of time. And on, and on, and on. There is a *lot* of junk science, and most of it isn’t from scientists.

  2. This article accuses the World Health Organisation of playing politics when it judged glyphosate to be a probable carcinogen, but neglects to mention that Monsanto’s own emails show that they made numerous secret payments to scientists to publish “independent” papers which would “drown out the noise” of critical research, bribed the editor of a journal to reject a paper claiming that roundup was carcinogenic and stuffed an “independent safety review panel” on glyphosate with scientists secretly receiving Monsanto consultancy fees, and ghostwrote scientific papers for respected scientists to sign.

    I don’t know if roundup poses a significant risk of cancer, or if this risk outweighs the benefits of this chemical.

    But he argument that “the majority of studies show glyphosate is safe” is null and void. I know better than to trust the science which circulates on social media, but Monsanto’s actions undermine public confidence in peer reviewed science, and as far as I can tell they have not faced any penalties for this, nor have the scientists involved.

    I’m shocked that so many self proclaimed “defenders of science” have given this behaviour their tacit approval.

  3. Part of the problem is that while Roundup contains glyphosphate, it isn’t glyphosphate, it’s a mix of chemicals. Glyphosphate was found to be non toxic to bullfrogs, for example, but the *surfactant* in roundup *was* found to be toxic. So claims about glyphosphate may be more precisely claims about Roundup.

    • How about the surfactant that you use every day to clean up your dinner dishes, then rinse down the drain? Or the surfactant that you wash your clothes with that gets flushed down the sewer? The surfactant that you wash your hair with? The surfactants that you wash your car with? The surfactants that are in your motor oil? The surfactants that are used in just about every industrial process that you can think of, including the processes used to make the computer that you are now blathering on? There is a basic difference though….the processes that you chose to sustain your lifestyle just for one day (today, this single day in your life) are responsible for the utililzation of more bullfrog killing surfactant than all the Roundup that will be used to produce your food for the next 10 years. In order to make rational proclamations about bullfrogs, you need to take into consideration your own environmental impacts on the ecosystem.

      • I love people who can’t read. You are aware that there are hundreds of different surfactants, correct? All with different molecular structures and properties? I pointed out that the *specific* surfactant in roundup was shown to be toxic to bullfrogs. It was tested, mainly because bullfrogs were dying when they were getting exposed to roundup runoff from the fields, and people were insisting it couldn’t be, because glyphosphate wasn’t toxic to bullfrogs. It wasn’t…but that particular surfactant was. Now, unless you can prove I said *all* surfactants….and *you* can prove that every surfactant is equally toxic to bullfrogs, your statement has nothing to do with the reality of mine. By the way, chemist here, I do have an understanding of toxicity and the use of surfactants. Awaiting proof of your claims regarding the toxicity of all these other surfactants, which was not my point anyway – it was the fact that yes, glyphosphate is non-toxic, but Round-up isn’t *only* glyphospate. That’s like saying the bleach is about 95% non toxic water – you should be fine to drink it….oh, except for that other toxic ingredient…..

        • And I love these posts from people who choose to be ignorant of their own environmental impacts, and love to shift focus onto the fear fad of the moment. *You* are the fool if *you* think you can ignore the *other* and *all* surfactants and other toxic substances that are use in copious amounts just to sustain your egotistical existence. By the way, the hypochlorite substances in bleach are EPA regulated highly toxic pesticides, so you just shot yourself in the foot by bringing up that topic. I say *bullfrog* to your understanding of any of this.

          Btw, wuzzup with your copious usage of the *?

          • I at no point denied that I have an environmental impact. In fact I don’t know why you brought that up in the first place. All I did was point out that claiming that Round-Up is non-toxic because the ingredient that has the desired effect is non toxic is scientifically inaccurate – in that Round-Up could be toxic, even if glyphosphate isn’t, due to other ingredients, and gave an example of one such circumstance. You are the one exploding about all the other surfactants, when in fact, it’s not about the surfactant, it’s about the scientific inaccuracy of a statement that says because ingredient “a” is non-toxic, a mixture of a,b,c,d must be. I’m fully aware of my environmental impact, thank-you, and I try to minimize it. I also strive to keep science honest, even with itself, especially when claims are made by marketing, not the scientists who designed the product, whom I would hope would not make such a fundamentally inaccurate statement.

          • Any scientific investigation must begin from the presumption of no difference between population subsets, i.e. the null hypothesis. To make an honest investigation of various surfactant effects upon bullfrogs, *you*, as a scientist, have to challenge the null hypothesis by comparing the surfactant that may be used in (some formulations of) Roundup(TM) against a wider array of surfactants, including those that I mentioned in my earlier comment. To not do such comparisons in an experimental investigation constitutes bias, i.e. willful blindness. You might ask yourself why those other surfactants have not been tested for bullfrog effects. The answer is that they are not required to be so tested; there are no laws or regulations, at least in the U.S.A., which require that sort of testing on the wider array of products that I listed. So, it is incumbent upon *you*, as a scientist, to conduct those sorts of experiments to sort out whether the other surfactants probably (or not, per statistical analysis) would impart similar effects upon bullfrogs. Embedded within your experimental design would be a series of dosages that would range all the way from a worst-case acute or subchronic level down to a real-world level, i.e. a concentration that would realistically be found in a bullfrog environmental microcosm, meaning in pond water; a no-dose control group would be required as well. A proper statistical analysis that you would be required to produce would measure and compare the dose-response relationships among the various types of surfactants that you actually studied, from which the null hypothesis would be either rejected (high probablity of difference) or not rejected (low or no probability of difference). Until you have done that type of study in accordance with codified Good Laboratory Practice criteria (meaning your data are subject to regulatory agency audit, which is much more rigorous than you might need for publication in so-called peer reviewed journals), then submitted your study to the relevant regulatory authority(ies) for their review and consideration, you have no business posting one-sided drivel about the effects of any particular surfactant on bullfrogs, whether it might be found in Roundup(TM) branded products or not.

            By the way, the term ‘Roundup’ is nothing more than a trademark now. There are Roundup branded formulations in the marketplace which contain no glyphosate. Conversely, there are many products containing glyphosate which do not carry the name Roundup, and many of them do not come from Monsanto, or any Monsanto legacy supplier. So, I would recommend that you take that into account when you conduct your scientific experimentation, and likewise segregate your viewpoint posts on that point of differentiation.

  4. Science is not FBs damned purview. they are laying out how they will be indoctrinating people who use their service. that will be the end for me n the scarce visits I make to fb for good. This is complete BS

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