Even a social network for doctors is struggling with vaccine misinformation

Doximity has trouble in its comments sections.

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Vials and syringes of the Johnson and Johnson Janssen Covid-19 vaccine are displayed for a photograph at a Culver City Fire Department vaccination clinic on August 5, 2021 in Culver City, California. (Photo by Patrick T. FALLON / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)
PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

Even an online medical community can't completely avoid COVID-19 vaccine misinformation. Gizmodo reports that CNBC has found a deluge of bogus anti-vaccine claims on Doximity, an industry networking tool for doctors. While shared stories are from well-established news outlets and scientific publications, the comments are apparently rife with misinformation on vaccine safety, mask effectiveness and natural immunity, among other issues.

The commenters are using their real names and have verified medical credentials.

Doximity told CNBC it had rules barring material that contradicts public health guidelines, including anti-vaccine material. It added that it had a "rigorous" comment review process where physicians screened content. The company didn't explain the glut of anti-vaccine comments, however, or say when it might remove them.

The findings highlight the problems with content moderation. Many social sites and internet giants have rules barring anti-vax content, but enforcement has been an ongoing problem due to either a lack of resources or users circumventing the rules. Doximity's problem is just a more egregious violation — this is a small, closed group full of people who are supposed to go through a tougher screening process. It's clear there's a while to go before Doximity and other sites can truly keep users sharing accurate information.

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