- Anti-vaxxers have reportedly been using secret codes like “dinner party” to disguise Facebook groups.
- The private groups have thousands of members and use coded language to push disproven vaccine theories, NBC News reported.
- The groups are trying to evade crackdowns on misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine by Facebook.
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Anti-vaxxers have reportedly been using secret code names like “dinner party” and “dance party” to disguise Facebook groups in order to evade crackdowns on misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine by the social media giant, according to NBC News.
The private Facebook groups have large followings and also use coded language to push disproven vaccine theories, according to the NBC report from reporters Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny, citing screenshots provided to the news outlet by multiple group members.
For example, one group called “dance party” has more than 40,000 members and stopped permitting new users from joining as a result of Facebook’s efforts to censor false claims about the coronavirus vaccine, according to NBC News.
The “dinner party” group, which is a backup to the “dance party” group, has more than 20,000 members and was created by the same moderators, the news outlet said.
Among the secret language used by group members are words like “danced” or “drank beer” to refer to “got the vaccine,” according to NBC News.
Additionally, the words “pizza” and “pizza king” are generally used to refer to COVID-19 vaccine maker Pfizer, while “moana” is used to refer to Moderna, also a developer of the coronavirus vaccine.
According to NBC News, one group member posted that her husband got sick after going on a “cross country trip where we spent 2 nights with dancers” or people who were inoculated.
“He believes that by being around those who have danced the glitter caused the shingles reactivation,” the group member said, according to NBC News.
Code words have also been used by anti-vaccination influencers on Instagram, the news site reported, explaining that they use the term “swimmers” to refer to vaccinated people and joining a “swim club” to refer to the act of vaccination.
“Vaccine activists have been participating in leetspeak for as long as the internet has been around,” Joan Donovan, research director at Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, told NBC News. “This is part of the culture of anti-vaccination activists.”
President Joe Biden recently said that social media platforms like Facebook are “killing people” by allowing vaccine misinformation to spread, prompting Facebook to fire back at the commander-in-chief. Biden later walked back his remarks.