In a move which shocked members of the Facebook community, the anti-vaccine page VacTruthiness deleted the comments of a pro-vaccine poster, and then banned her so she could not comment again. The original post, by a page administrator, told readers how her own case of chickenpox was mild, and as such, the entire vaccination program against this disease was an unnecessary way for pharmaceutical companies to make money.
Jane Litz, 42 of Atlanta, Georgia, responded by expressing her happiness that the administrator of VacTruthiness had survived her bout with chickenpox unscathed, but pointed out that the disease did lead to thousands of hospitalizations and nearly 150 deaths annually in the United States prior to the approval of the vaccines. Ms. Litz linked to an article in the New England Journal of Medicine to validate the source of her claims.
Within 10 minutes, however, Ms. Litz’s comments were removed from the VacTruthiness page, and Ms. Litz found herself banned and unable to comment. “I was stunned,” said Ms. Litz. “Whenever I post on anti-vaccine pages, I am always polite and respectful. Who could possibly have imagined a scenario where my comments get deleted into oblivion and my ability to post on the page destroyed? It is just inconceivable that an anti-vaccine page would want to turn itself into some sort of echo-chamber where dissenting voices are summarily silenced.”
A spokesman for VacTruthiness told The Spudd, “We feel that our page should remain a safe place where people can debate the dangers of vaccines in an open manner without being threatened. We are sure Ms. Litz is a pleasant person, but her comments violated the standards of our community.”