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Two top researchers from Oxford accuse Facebook of "censorship" article warnings


Two top Oxford academics accuse Facebook of censoring for branding their article on whether masks contain “false information”.

  • Two Oxford scientists reviewed a new study on the effectiveness of face masks
  • The Danmask-19 study was eagerly awaited as it was a randomized controlled trial
  • But Facebook warned the link that took viewers to the 694 word article

Two Leading Oxford University researchers have accused Facebook of "censorship" after it was alleged that an article they wrote about face masks was "false information".

Professor Carl Heneghan, Director of the University's Center for Evidence-Based Medicine, posted a link on his Facebook page to the article he shared with colleague Dr. Tom Jefferson wrote, "Landmark Danish Study shows that face masks have no significant effect."

The piece reviewed the recently published "Danmask-19" study, which examined the effectiveness of masks in preventing people from contracting Covid-19.

Dr. Tom Jefferson is pictured above

Professor Carl Heneghan, pictured left; The director of the University's Center for Evidence-Based Medicine posted a link on his Facebook page to the article he shared with colleague Dr. Tom Jefferson (right) with the title “Landmark Danish Study shows that face masks have no significant effects

After following about 6,000 volunteers for a month, half of whom were asked to wear face masks outside the home and the other half not to wear them, the researchers concluded that the difference in infection rate ( 1.8 versus 2.1 percent) was so low it was not & # 39; statistically significant & # 39; – which means it could have happened by accident. The Danish researchers described their results as "inconclusive".

The couple's article shared the findings, adding, "As a result, the impact of masks on preventing the disease from spreading across the community appears to be small."

However, Facebook cautioned the link that took viewers to the 694-word article that appears on The Spectator's website, claiming it was "verified by independent fact-checkers" who found it to be "incorrect information." "acted.

An angry Prof. Heneghan, who wrote for MoS earlier this month, drew attention to his encounter with Facebook on Twitter and told his 70,000 followers, “I am aware that this happens to others – what happened to academic freedom and freedom Speech? There is nothing wrong with this article. "

Facebook cited a review of "independent third-party fact checkers" health feedback review titled, "The Danish face mask study did not find masks were not effective in reducing the spread of Covid-19. The study was insufficient and the results inconclusive. "

However, the couple's Spectator article was not mentioned at all.

Last night, Dr. Jefferson on Sunday to The Mail: "It's censorship and one of the reasons we are facing a global breakdown of free thought and science."

The Danmask-19 study was eagerly awaited as it is a "randomized controlled trial" (RCT), which is considered the gold standard for medical evidence.

Observational studies have linked the wearing of masks to a slightly lower risk of respiratory infections, but these can lead to bias and other methodological problems. However, one important aspect that Danmask didn't address was whether face masks help prevent the spread of infection.

Many scientists believe that this is their main benefit, as laboratory studies show that masks significantly reduce the amount of potentially infected droplets that move away from the wearer.

The piece reviewed the recently published "Danmask-19" study, which examined the effectiveness of masks in preventing people from contracting Covid-19. An archive image is used above (file photo)

The piece reviewed the recently published "Danmask-19" study, which examined the effectiveness of masks in preventing people from contracting Covid-19. An archive image is used above (file photo)

Professor James Naismith, Director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute, Oxford, said: “It is highly unlikely that definitive 'evidence' of mask wear can ever be produced.

“I will continue to wear a mask to protect others, and I would ask those who can to do so too. If I'm wrong, the cost to me has been practically zero. If I'm right, someone may have avoided a serious illness. "

The viewer said yesterday: "Due to the large number of people who comment on the article on social media without reading it, we have updated the headline to emphasize that the study is about face mask wearers."

A Facebook spokesman said: "Publishers can of course appeal the evaluations and judgments of the fact-checkers."

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