Facebook kills babies

Halloween image of the death reaper on a black background

I love Facebook; I ought to know since I spend a large portion of every day engaging with it. That’s why it pains me to point out that Facebook kills babies.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Facebook has turbo charged the ignorance of quacks, charlatans and ordinary people.[/pullquote]

How? By allowing users to create communities where access to accurate information is tightly controlled — through deleting, banning and vetting membership — it has empowered purveyors of pseudoscience; and pseudoscience kills babies and children. I’ve have written all too many times about brain injuries and deaths that occur in natural childbirth and homebirth Facebook groups. And don’t get me started about anti-vax groups.

Another potentially deadly situation is playing out right now.




I went to my appt this morning (42 weeks) and had a cervical exam. Midwife said my cervix is closed and baby’s head is still a little high. She proceeded to tell me that my cervix is not good to have a VBA2C at this point and maybe a repeat C-section is best. I told her I won’t be doing an RCS unless there is a life threatening situation with me and/or baby.

…NST was perfect, however she said that there is basically no fluid around the baby (which is bullshit because I saw the huge amounts of fluid) …

She then brought the doctor down with her (and I know she prepped him) … He asked me why am I against being induced, at this point there is no more benefit being pregnant and both of them tried to tag team me using scare tactics, the usual big baby, baby could die, no fluid to cushion for contractions, over due, baby could get stuck. And basically telling me that my body will fail at a vaginal birth…

…I don’t really know what to do from here. I don’t feel like I can trust them but also feel stuck. Do I go back in for the induction? Do I just take my chances and stay home? Do I say fuck it and birth this baby by myself? (I don’t feel comfortable with that)

Because who you gonna call when your midwife and doctor tell you your baby’s life is at risk? Your Facebook friends, of course. Not surprisingly, she was deluged with suggestions on how and why both her midwife and doctor are wrong and she should just wait it out. Only a few commentors recommended that she listen to her healthcare providers instead of her instincts.

That makes for an interesting juxtaposition with this post from the administrator of a different unassisted pregnancy/unassisted childbirth group.




I’m sorry ladies but I have decided to close this group. I can no longer advocate for not having any medical testing during pregnancy or after birth. I will never knowingly have an unassisted pregnancy again.

My son has many health issues that may have been caught if I had chromosomal testing, an anatomy scan and newborn screening… The guilt is just too heavy …

My instincts were very very wrong…

In other words, calling on her Facebook friends for support in ignoring medical advice end up grievously harming her son and family.

Don’t misunderstand me: each woman has the right to do exactly what she is doing (in the case of the first mother) or did (in the case of the second mother), but both looked to private Facebook groups — where pseudoscience reins supreme, other viewpoints are rare or deleted, and accurate information is in very short supply — to bolster them in believing both that they know far more than they do and that their instincts are more accurate than the knowledge of midwives and doctors.

Facebook, more than any other entity, allows people to recuse themselves from reality and create a carefully curated faux “reality” instead. I’m confident that this was never what Mark Zuckerbeg had in mind; indeed, given that his wife is a pediatrician I suspect that it pains both of them to consider how Facebook has turbo charged the ignorance of quacks, charlatans and ordinary people. But like him I am at a loss for what to do about it.

Free speech is more important than ever and the right to assemble (including in the cloud) with like minded individuals is a precious freedom. But by allowing people to shield themselves from other viewpoints and from accurate information, Facebook facilitates the dissemination of deadly nonsense. Facebook kills babies — but it seems that beyond calling attention to it, there’s not a damn thing anyone can do about it.