Defensor’s FB page faces shutdown after ivermectin post; solon cries censorship | #socialmedia


This file photo shows Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor during a briefing at the House of Representatives. INQUIRER.net file photo / Noy Morcoso

MANILA, Philippines — The Facebook page of Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor is at risk of getting “unpublished” – or invisible to users – following his post on Ivermectin as means of fighting COVID-19. But the lawmaker dubbed this as “censorship” from the social media platform.

In his Facebook post, Defensor slammed the Department of Health (DOH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for refusing to recommend Ivermectin for COVID-19 treatment.

In support of this point, Defensor presented figures on high vaccination rates in the United States, Israel, and the United Kingdom and compared it to the 7.4 percent vaccination rate in Uttar Pradesh, India.

Defensor’s post noted that, despite Uttar Pradesh having a lower vaccination rate, the United States, Israel, and United Kingdom still have higher rates of cases than the Indian state.

“Ang tanong, bakit ganun? Ang Uttar Pradesh ay isang mahirap na region sa India na nauna at patuloy na umiinom ng Ivermectin. Masdan na kahit mababa ang vaccination nila ay mababa ang nagkakasakit ng COVID,” Defensor claimed in his post.

(The question is, why is that so? The state of Uttar Pradesh in India is a poor region that took Ivermectin previously and continues to do so. It is noteworthy that they have a lower risk of getting COVID despite their low vaccination rate.)

Defensor did not cite any published studies correlating the number of cases of COVID-19 in Uttar Pradesh to the use of Ivermectin.

Risk of being unpublished

Following this post, Defensor told reporters that Facebook had “just blocked me for giving my analysis on the COVID update report posted on the internet.”

According to screenshots Defensor shared, Facebook temporarily “blocked” him for posting “something that violates Facebook policies.”

Defensor’s page was also “at risk of being unpublished, and has reduced distribution and other restrictions, due to continued community standards violations.”

According to the lawmaker, this was “censorship” on Facebook’s part and should be investigated.

“I think it’s about time that we investigate the policies on censorship of Facebook,” Defensor said.

A look at Facebook’s policies shows that one of the possible reasons may be misinformation, as indicated in its advisory to Defensor.

Not recommended vs COVID-19

The DOH and the FDA, on multiple occasions, have stated that ivermectin should not be used to combat COVID-19, angering several members of the House of Representatives who are in favor of its use, including Defensor.

Currently, the FDA has approved ivermectin for human use in the country. However, the agency insists there is still not enough data to say if ivermectin is effective against COVID-19.

Asked by INQUIRER.net on Monday, FDA Director General Eric Domingo said: “There is still no sufficient evidence to show that it is effective as a treatment for COVID-19.”

READ: Ivermectin not effective in treating COVID-19, says DOH citing latest study

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