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Here’s The Truth Behind That VapoRub Story Spreading On Social Media

If you’ve been on Facebook recently, you may have seen a story with this headline: “Mom applies a remedy to her baby, moments later he dies. Be careful with this, moms!” The story claims that a two-year-old Mexican child died after the child’s mother applied too much Vicks VapoRub.

The story first appeared around mid-November and quickly spread on Facebook, with parents warning their friends about the dangers of VapoRub.

However, all evidence indicates that the story did not actually happen. Here’s why: No major news organization has actually reported on it.

CREDIT: REMEDY YARD

The only websites covering “VapoGate” engage in tabloid style reporting, using junk science to back up the claims of their sensational headlines. The image above is from one of the websites reporting on the Vicks VapoRub death. As you can see, they have another story about how Vicks VapoRub can be used to get rid of cellulite. If it did, you can bet Vicks would have cashed in on that claim already.

The baby in the story’s photo is a stock image.

CREDIT: FACEBOOK

Like many fake news stories, the image provided for the story is supposed to add credibility to the headline. However, the image of this child is actually a stock photo that anyone can use for their own story.

Need more proof? The image has been used before in other stories.

CREDIT: GOOGLE

As you can see, the image has been used in stories about how to get a baby to sleep through the night. There is no mention of Vicks.

Most of the websites covering this story just copied and pasted the words from another source.

CREDIT: PROCTER AND GAMBLE SOUTH AFRICA

A Google search revealed that many of the websites reporting on this story just copied and pasted the bulk of it from whatever source they found. The story doesn’t offer any fact based details, including the woman’s name, referring to her as the “Mexican mother.” The lack of fact checking should be a tip off. Not to mention that the most reliable reporting on this story came from Snopes, the debunking website, which says they found NO PROOF that the story actually occurred at all.

Vicks VapoRub does have side effects that parents should know about.

Like any over-the-counter drug, VapoRub must be used correctly, otherwise problems could occur. VapoRub has been shown to increase mucus production, in ferrets. Eating VapoRub can lead to serious health problems, and it should not be placed on broken skin because the body can absorb toxic levels of camphor. Adult VapoRub should not be applied to babies under 2 years of age, but there is an unmedicated version specially made for babies. Most important, always be sure to follow directions when using medication.

One thing we can agree on: if you’re sick and need a cure, you can always depend on your abuela.

Every abuelitas nightmare.

Posted by We are mitú on Friday, November 18, 2016

READ: If Vicks VapoRub Could Talk To Us, Here’s What It Would Say

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From COVID To Elections, Here’s Why Misinformation Targets Latinos

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From COVID To Elections, Here’s Why Misinformation Targets Latinos

One of the big surprises of the 2020 election was how even though most Latino voters across the U.S. voted for Joe Biden, in some counties of competitive states like Florida and Texas, a higher-than-expected percentage of Latinos supported Donald Trump. One factor that many believe played a role: online misinformation about the Democratic candidate.

Another important subject that’s been victim of a massive misinformation campaign is the Coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing vaccination program. But why does #fakenews so heavily target the Latino community?

Since the 2020 campaign, a large misinformation campaign has target Latinos.

Although fake news is nothing new, in the campaign leading up to the 2020 elections it morphed into something more sinister – a campaign to influence Latino voters with false information. The largely undetected movement helped depress turnout and spread disinformation about Democrat Joe Biden.

The effort showed how social media and other technology can be leveraged to spread misinformation so quickly that those trying to stop it cannot keep up. There were signs that it worked as Donald Trump swung large numbers of Latino votes in the 2020 presidential race in some areas that had been Democratic strongholds.

Videos and pictures were doctored. Quotes were taken out of context. Conspiracy theories were fanned, including that voting by mail was rigged, that the Black Lives Matter movement had ties to witchcraft and that Biden was beholden to a cabal of socialists.

That flow of misinformation has only intensified since Election Day, researchers and political analysts say, stoking Trump’s baseless claims that the election was stolen and false narratives around the mob that overran the Capitol. More recently, it has morphed into efforts to undermine vaccination efforts against the coronavirus.

The misinformation campaign could have major impacts on our politics.

Several misinformation researchers say there is an alarming amount of misinformation about voter fraud and Democratic leaders being shared in Latino social media communities. Biden is a popular target, with misinformation ranging from exaggerated claims that he embraces Fidel Castro-style socialism to more patently false and outlandish ones, for instance that the president-elect supports abortion minutes before a child’s birth or that he orchestrated a caravan of Cuban immigrants to infiltrate the US Southern border and disrupt the election process.

Democratic strategists looking ahead to the 2022 midterm elections are concerned about how this might sway Latino voters in the future. They acknowledge that conservatives in traditional media and the political establishment have pushed false narratives as well, but say that social media misinformation deserves special attention: It appears to be a growing problem, and it can be hard to track and understand.

Some believe that Latinos may be more likely to believe a message shared by friends, family members, or people from their cultural community in a WhatsApp or Telegram group rather than an arbitrary mainstream US news outlet; research has found that people believe news articles more when they’re shared by people they trust.

Fake news is also impacting our community’s response to the pandemic.

Vaccination programs work best when as many people as possible get vaccinated, but Latinos in the United States are getting inoculated at lower rates.

In Florida, for example, Latinos are 27% of the population but they’ve made up only about 17% of COVID-19 vaccinations so far, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. And Latinos are relying on social media and word-of-mouth for information on vaccines — even when it’s wrong. There’s myths circulating around the vaccine, whether you can trust it and the possible the long-term effects.

And it’s not just obstacles to getting information in Spanish, but also in many of the native Mayan indigenous languages that farmworkers speak in South Florida.

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The FBI Is Investigating the ‘Trump Train’ Group With Ties to QAnon That Brigaded Biden’s Campaign Bus

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The FBI Is Investigating the ‘Trump Train’ Group With Ties to QAnon That Brigaded Biden’s Campaign Bus

Photo: Getty Images/Scott Olson

Investigative reporters found that the caravan of Trump supporters who blocked Joe Biden’s campaign bus in Texas have ties to QAnon conspiracy theory activity online. The fact-finding website Snopes discovered that the caravan was organized in a Facebook group called “Alamo City Trump Trains,” a group that is “littered with activity” tied to QAnon

According to Snopes, the “Alamo City Trump Trains” Facebook group is comprised of people who post pro-Trump memes and content. The pro-Trump group apparently has many members that frequently post QAnon references and lingo. QAnon flags and merchandise can also be spotted at the group’s events and in their YouTube videos.

The group organized the brigade through posts hash-tagged with #OperationBlockTheBus. Hundreds of the group’s members interacting with the posts, commenting and “liking” them.

As background, a group of Trump-supporters in trucks brigaded Joe Biden’s campaign bus on October 20th while it was on the Interstate 35 in Texas. Video shows trucks decked out in Pro-Trump flags and blocking-in and tailgating the Biden bus as well as the white SUV that was accompanying the bus.

At one point, the SUV attempted to change lanes to remain behind the campaign bus but a Trump truck prevented it from doing so. The footage shows the two cars colliding in a minor fender-bender as the truck blocks the SUV from changing lanes. According to Snopes, extended footage of the accident was even posted inside the private Facebook group. Snopes also reported that the incident is being investigated by the FBI.

The stand-off is notable because it shows the complete lack of civility our country has descended into on the eve of this historic election. Political division are no longer relegated to family arguments and Facebook rants, but have transformed into real-world violence.

QAnon is a dangerous far-right conspiracy theory that alleges that left-leaning politicians and celebrities are actually Satan-worshipping pedophiles who run a global child sex-trafficking ring. Believers are convinced that Trump is fighting against this evil cabal. The claims, needless to say, are completely false, but that hasn’t stopped some Trump supporters from spreading the harmful and inflammatory misinformation online.

And while young people are not immune from falling for these dangerous conspiracy theories, it is older generations who are more likely to believe in them. A recent study conducted by Princeton University found that people aged 65 years and older are seven times more likely to share fake news and misinformation on social media than those aged 18-29. Experts chalk it up to “digital media literacy”–millennials and Gen Z-ers have grown up on the internet, and have thus fine-tuned their radar that separates fact from fiction. Older generations are not as savvy.

Already, both Facebook and Twitter have attempted to reign in the harm of QAnon conspiracy theories, banning mentions of QAnon theories from their platforms. The social media giants have said that they believe the messages could lead to potential real-world violence.

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