After Elon Musk posts video on X, fact-checker calls it misleading

Many experts have criticized X (formerly Twitter) for letting misinformation spread on its platform in the past. But a new low for the platform came on Thursday, October 19, when a fact-checking website found that the owner of the platform, Elon Musk, was spreading misinformation through one of his posts on X. The post in question is a video that had a series of screenshots of news headlines where the efficacy of various COVID-19 vaccines was shown to decline in order of percentage. The fact-checker called it misleading and missing context. Interestingly, Musk has been vocal on the platform against the social and government-based pressure of getting the vaccine.

The AFP fact-checker posted a detailed breakdown of the video and said, “A video shared by Elon Musk stitches together screenshots of headlines that appeared to show declining estimates of protection from Covid-19 vaccines. The clip is missing context; the headlines are presented out of order, using incomparable data, and while the jabs do not completely protect against infection, physicians and epidemiologists say they are effective in reducing the risk of severe illness and death”.

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Elon Musk shares misleading video on X

In its analysis, the report highlighted that the order in which the screenshots appear in the video does not follow the chronology of when each article was published and “uses incomparable data by looking at results for different vaccines and reactions to different variants of the disease”.

It also found that among the 111 screenshots shown in the video, one was taken from 2011 which had nothing to do with the pandemic.

The video starts with headlines calling COVID-19 vaccines 100 percent effective, and then with each passing screenshot, the number lowers till it reaches below 50 percent, and then the video shows scenarios where vaccines were halted in different countries. However, a closer look at the video shows that each screenshot uses the percentage in different contexts and while some of them are clinical studies, others are based on tests done outside laboratory conditions. You can watch the video here.

Replying to a comment on his post, Musk said, “My concern was more the outrageous demand that people *must* take the vaccine and multiple boosters to do anything at all. That was messed up. Until the Supreme Court invalidated Biden’s exec order, SpaceX and many other companies would have been forced to fire anyone who refused to get vaccinated! We would not have done so. I would rather go to prison than fire good people who didn’t want to be jabbed”.

“It’s not like I don’t believe in vaccines – I do. However, the cure cannot be potentially worse than the disease. And public debate over efficacy should not be shut down,” he added.

Interestingly, Community Notes did not flag the post as misleading, leading to some users raising questions about whether Elon Musk’s posts are exempt from them.

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