NEW DELHI – Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook page has become a troll battleground after he posted a photo that endorses the use of vaccines in young children.
The Facebook CEO, who is enjoying two months of paternity leave following the birth of his daughter, Maxima, recently posted a father-and-daughter photo from the doctor’s office.
“Doctor’s visit,” the caption on the photo reads. “Time for vaccines!”
It’s not clear whether Zuckerberg intended to stake out a position on one of the internet’s favorite conspiracy theories, but he succeeded in sparking a major debate.
The post has generated more than 89,000 comments, many from anti-vaxxers who wrongly argue that vaccines increase the risk of autism and other health-related issues.
“Injecting newborns and infants with disease and neurotoxins is disgusting science that injures millions every year,” said a Facebook user named Meredith Allyson Gibney. “Shame on all of you and your souls.”
The recurrent myth about a link between vaccines and autism, propagated by a small but vocal group of anti-vaccine activists, grew out of a now discredited study from 1998 that was published in a British medical journal by a doctor who was later stripped of his license.
Other comments reflected views more grounded in medical science.
“As someone with autism, with a son with autism, as someone who is constantly watching good people put their own children at serious risk because of old, fraudulent fears of vaccines and autism… thank you for being sensible,” said Facebook user Stuart Duncan. “Thank you for doing what’s right.”
Zuckerberg previously addressed vaccines in a post about one of the works selected for his book club.
“Vaccination is an important and timely topic,” he said. “The science is completely clear: vaccinations work and are important for the health of everyone in our community.”