ADHD recipes via TikTok, pro-life groups in Tennessee target IVF and Twitter’s blue trolls

THE LIES OF THE TWITTER TROLLS ARE NOW RECEIVED WITH A BLUE DIAMOND

Twitter has become noticeably more trolly since Elon Musk took over. Of course, that’s backed up by the stats — over 50,000 tweets bombarding the platform with hateful content surfaced within hours of the billionaire taking control. If you’re a regular user of the platform, you’ll probably have noticed for yourself by now, as fighting erupted left, right and center and digital dumpster fires were being fed into your timeline with more than usual regularity.

Angry dialogue blown up this week revolves around the price of insulin. It all started when an account with no followers but an important blue tick impersonating pharma giant Eli Lilly made a false claim. “We’re excited to announce that insulin is now free.” It was a particularly painful lie — a single vial of Eli Lilly’s product (of which many diabetics need 3-4 a month) costs $274 in the US dollars, and prices keep skyrocketing.

This means some diabetics are forced to ration other necessities like food to be able to afford their insulin. Companies like Lilly were flatly accused of price gouging, so the fake tweet raised false hope for real people in a desperate situation. That blue tick, previously only available to verified accounts of public figures and organizations but now available to anyone for $8, meant the tweet was far more likely to fool people. “We apologize to those who were sent a misleading message from a fake Lilly account,” the company said tweeted.

Climate disinformation on Twitter has also proliferated during COP27. At one point, searching for “climate” on the platform brought up suggestions for #climatescam before any other results. A new breed of climate troll emerged on Twitter on Wednesday. With an American eagle for a profile picture and another freshly purchased blue check, the user began tweeting climate disinformation, claiming that “Earth has been on a global cooling trend since 2016” and that “2021 saw fewer climate deaths than ever before year in recorded history. The lame existential crisis of all time.” Of course, prior to Musk’s takeover, these tweets meant very little — but the all-important blue tick gave them an air of legitimacy.

“An anonymous troll bought a blue check and is happily spreading climate disinformation. But we stay tuned: Because everyone – including everyone here on Twitter – needs to know that climate change is real.” tweeted Nature’s chief scientist Katharine Hayhoe.

ON THE WORLD NEWS

An Australian lobby group ran an anti-environmental blitz on Facebook during COP27. Advance Australia, which bills itself as a group fighting “stupid laws and aroused ideologies like ‘net zero’,” has paid for at least a dozen Facebook ads attacking climate policy, reaching millions of viewers. The group’s Facebook page has nearly 100,000 followers and features a mix of anti-Woke talking points alongside anti-environmental rhetoric. The group sees itself as a promoter of Australia’s Judeo-Christian heritage and opposes the teaching of critical race theory in schools. In a recent article published on her website, she described Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg as “crazy” and urged her to “go back to Sweden”.

Telemedicine startups are promoting ADHD drugs on TikTok. There’s an irony to this — TikTok’s recommendation algorithm is designed to keep you scrolling, pulling you further down the rabbit hole and away from whatever else you’re doing. It is designed to constantly distract you. So it’s obviously the perfect platform to promote ADHD pills. “When you start getting your ADHD meds, suddenly all those voices in your head are gone,” one ad reads. Neurodiversity runs in my family and I – along with most of my relatives – display many of the characteristics of ADHD. However, I have never received a diagnosis because going through the UK National Health Service’s referral system is a long and tedious process. But in the US it’s a different story. Just chat with any of these telemedicine TikTok outlets for half an hour and they can issue you a remote prescription without the need to see a psychiatrist. It’s no wonder, then, that there’s a shortage of Adderall right now — and some experts are wondering if ADHD is being overdiagnosed.

Anti-abortion groups, which for years have pushed for Roe v. Wade is overthrown are not finished yet. A leaked recording of a strategy meeting between Tennessee lawmakers and major anti-abortion groups shows lobbyists have IVF and contraception in their crosshairs for years to come. “Maybe next year, in two years, in three years, your caucus will come to a point where you want to talk about IVF and how to regulate it in a more ethical way,” State Vice President Stephen Billy told Affairs for Susan B. Anthony Pro- Life America told lawmakers. Fertility treatments result in the destruction of scores of non-viable embryos – which is why some of the most extreme activists who call themselves “pro-life” are protesting against IVF treatments. Tennessee State Representative Ryan Williams has claimed that physicians who dispose of non-viable embryos are breaking the law and could be prosecuted under Tennessee’s new Human Life Protection Act. Tennessee’s Attorney General said earlier this month that disposal of fertilized embryos that were not transferred to the uterus is not punishable as a criminal abortion. But the leaked records suggest such a result may not be far off.

WHAT WE READ

Check out the ProPublica investigation, the takes us in this anti-abortion meeting with Tennessee GOP lawmakers. The leaked recording, writes Kavitha Surana, “provides the clearest examples yet of the strategy the law’s architects are pursuing to influence lawmakers and the public amid growing national concerns that abortion bans are endangering women’s healthcare and lives.”

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