Twitter is allowing a fake news story about the drug Ivermectin to go viral on its platform, despite its alleged commitment to “fact checking” so-called misinformation.
On Sunday, Rolling Stone reporter Peter Wade published a story quoting a doctor in Oklahoma, Jason McElyea, who claimed that emergency rooms in the state were so backed up due to ivermectin overdose cases that “gunshot victims were having hard times getting to facilities.”
The claim proved to be a complete dud. There is no surge of ivermectin overdose cases in Oklahoma or anywhere else, something Rolling Stone was forced to acknowledge in a lengthy correction to the piece.
Rolling Stone’s article now leads with the following:
The National Poison Data System states there were 459 reported cases of ivermectin overdose in the United States in August. Oklahoma-specific ivermectin overdose figures are not available, but the count is unlikely to be a significant factor in hospital bed availability in a state that, per the CDC, currently has a 7-day average of 1,528 Covid-19 hospitalizations. The doctor is affiliated with a medical staffing group that serves multiple hospitals in Oklahoma. Following widespread publication of his statements, one hospital that the doctor’s group serves, NHS Sequoyah, said its ER has not treated any ivermectin overdoses and that it has not had to turn away anyone seeking care.
The Guardian, the BBC, and the Hill also covered the initial story uncritically, while left-wing influencers including MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow amplified the story on Twitter.
Despite its alleged commitment to combating misinformation, Twitter has not added any labels to the story warning users that it contains fake news, something pointed out on the platform by Glenn Greenwald.