Nothing like the prospect of WWIII to take your mind off the 2nd birthday of a global pandemic. Not to worry, Gradient is here to remind you that there is still a pandemic. The world is really great at multitasking calamities. So what do COVID-19, Uncle Jerry’s Facebook posts, and the Russian-Ukrainian war have in common? Misinformation!
While Vladimir Putin is disseminating misinformation about human rights abuse in the Ukraine, many podcasters and social media influencers are responsible for spreading COVID-19 misinformation. More than half of Americans (56%) agree that social media platforms and streaming services bear responsibility for preventing misinformation related to COVID-19.
While we all know what we want to happen to Putin, the expected repercussions for misinformed podcasters is more ambiguous.
Save the horse medicine for the horses because Americans have the least tolerance for misinformation when it comes to actions that directly affect an individual’s health. For instance, 43% of Americans support removing content that promotes the consumption of a non-FDA approved treatment for COVID-19, and 26% support permanently banning a content creator disseminating the false information.
Americans have a softer spot for content creators who state that they are not comfortable getting the COVID-19 vaccine; only 23% believe that content should be removed and a mere 18% want the creator permanently banned. TL;DR, it’s totally fine to tell people not to get vaccinated as long as you don’t suggest bleach as an alternative.
The capitalist in you may wonder whether there would be any financial repercussions for platforms that support content creators who are accused of spreading COVID-19 misinformation.1 Since “The Joe Rogan Experience” has been accused of spreading COVID-19 misinformation, it serves as the perfect test case. Among the 24% of Americans who want Joe Rogan banned, 47% are likely to leave Spotify if he remains on the platform. Spotify, Americans have listened to you—now may be the time to listen to them in return.
1The existentialist in you may wonder why you’re wasting precious seconds of a fleeting existence reading a footnote in an emailed newsletter.