All of the tweets contained within this story were reported by the HSE to Twitter as containing harmful misinformation.
Gript can reveal that the HSE’s policy of reporting misinformation they find on social media has extended, either deliberately or negligently, far beyond simply reporting misinformation.
Whilst the HSE has said it is only reporting “harmful misinformation and disinformation” our review of the more than 1,300 social media posts they have reported shows that the HSE reported the following as misinformation:
- articles from mainstream media outlets, including the New York Times, and an article from an associate editor of the British Medical Journal.
- early reports that the AstraZeneca and J&J vaccines could be linked to blood clots.
- at least two videos of Parliamentarians speaking in their respective Parliaments, neither of which contained any incorrect medical information.
- political comments about lockdowns and anti-lockdown protests, even when those comments contained no medical claims or references to COVID-19.
- posts which made negative comments about particular individuals working in the medical or academic fields, but which made no medical claims.
- posts which were clearly and unambiguously jokes.
Our review showed that the HSE reported material from the Hill, Politico, the Jerusalem Post, Gript, Fox, ABC, the New York Post, Reuters, the New York Times, the British Medical Journal, and a local TV station in Central Iowa as misinformation. None of the material reviewed by Gript appeared to constitute misinformation. The majority of the material consisted of early reports of concerns surrounding blood clotting and the AstraZeneca and J&J vaccines. In both of those instances the European Medicines Authority (EMA) ultimately found that there was a risk those vaccines could be linked to blood clots, validating those reports.