fake news 03, Sean Adl-Tabatabai and Sinclair Treadway

These Two Guys Are Literally Risking Lives With a Fake News Story About the Flu Vaccine

YourNewsWire is a site snopes.com describes as “a consistent purveyor of fake news and political disinformation.” The site is owned by by 36-year-old Sean Adl-Tabatabai and 24-year-old Sinclair Treadway (pictured above), and it’s currently disseminating false news articles about flu vaccines, articles which have been shared hundreds of thousands of times on Facebook, spreading lies about a potentially deadly illness.

A recent study from NewsWhip, an app that tracks tracks content engagement across social networks, found that one of the most shared articles on Facebook in 2018 so far has been a YourNewsWire post entitled, “CDC Doctor: ‘Disastrous’ Flu Shot Is Causing Deadly Flu Outbreak.”

The story (which is garbage, so we won’t be linking to it), quoted an unnamed “CDC doctor” claiming that the flu vaccine has had a role in all the flu-related deaths in the most recent flu season. The article claims that the pharmaceutical industries dollars have kept the story out of mainstream media and that flu vaccines can contain “detergent, mercury and formaldehyde,” all claims which have been debunked as misleading fear-mongering.

Thus far, the story has over 715,000 Facebook shares — in fact, Think Progress points out that it has “more overall engagements than any story from outlets like The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, ABC, CBS, CNN, NPR, or even Fox News.” This means that the story has potentially been seen by millions of people who now think that not getting vaccinated will increase their odds of surviving flu season.

And it’s just one of several similar anti-flu vaccine stories on their site.

fake news 01, flu vaccine
Image by wissanu01 via iStock

While this year’s flu season has been particularly deadly, The Washington Post reports that “about 3 in 5 people who get shots are far less likely to become so sick that they require a visit to a doctor.” Meaning that while the vaccine isn’t foolproof, it’s far better than nothing.

In short, YourNewsWire, a gay-owned fake news site, is now risking lives with its viral articles. Is it any wonder that Google banned the site from its advertising platforms in 2017? The European Union also listed the site as a “proxy” for Russian disinformation. Ugh.