‘Memory holing history’: Vox slammed after deleting March tweet advising readers to ‘pass’ on facemasks
US news outlet Vox has been criticized after it deleted a tweet from March advising – ironically, in retrospect – against the use of face masks to combat the spread of Covid-19.
Vox announced on Monday that it had “deleted two tweets from March about mask-wearing” in an effort to “ensure current public health guidance is clear.”
We've deleted two tweets from March about mask-wearing. Though we replied with an update when CDC guidance changed to recommend masks, recent replies suggest the time frame of the update was unclear.To ensure current public health guidance is clear, we deleted the tweets.— Vox (@voxdotcom) December 21, 2020
One of the posts from March told Americans to “pass” on face masks because they were supposedly useless unless you already had the virus or worked in a hospital setting – a piece of advice which mirrored the official health guidance at the time.
“You do not need a mask to avoid coronavirus,” the outlet authoritatively declared. “Masks are only useful if you already have a respiratory infection and want to avoid spreading it to others.”
This tweet (from March) has just been deleted pic.twitter.com/rs4IMKB7cM— Bruno Maçães (@MacaesBruno) December 21, 2020
Social media users both ridiculed and criticized Vox’s decision to delete the post now that face masks are very much recommended, and even mandatory in many places.
French journalist Vincent Glad observed that the tweet “didn't age very well,” while others accused Vox of revisionism and attempting to escape responsibility for its bad advice.
Revisionist history masquerading as a public health necessity. https://t.co/qo7hROdmMN— (((Jason Rantz))) on KTTH Radio (@jasonrantz) December 22, 2020
That’s fine then. Who needs accountability. https://t.co/J0fGJI6ZgI— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) December 21, 2020
What were they? Why did it take so long to mention / correct them? Shouldn't there be more accountability for your twitter feed?— Fusilli Spock (@awstar11) December 21, 2020
“Erase the past to fit the present narrative. Got it,”commented Washington Times reporter Jessica Chasmar, while British comedian Simon Evans called it, “Another good example of memory holing,” though likely “with the best of intent.”
To Voxsplain: They were tired of all the dunking. https://t.co/IfECcVRSK4— Matthew Stinson (@stinson) December 21, 2020
Let’s ignore that the tweet deletion is self serving (coincidence, I’m sure). The problem was and continues to be your uncritical analysis and shambollic parroting of talking points when it fits a certain political agenda. You have prioritized being a mouthpiece for power.— Tardigrade in the streets water bear in the sheets (@ManofillRepute) December 21, 2020
One Twitter user claimed that the issue wasn’t that Vox was ultimately wrong, according to the latest advice, but how confident it was with issuing the directive.
“The most annoying thing about these articles for me is the ultra-authoritative, near-mocking tone that they're often written in,” the user declared, adding that though everyone is “wrong sometimes,” Vox “stating beliefs with 100% confidence and never admitting fault or blame makes this misinformation much worse.”
The most annoying thing about these articles for me is the ultra-authoritative, near-mocking tone that they're often written in.Everyone is wrong sometimes. But always stating beliefs with 100% confidence and never admitting fault or blame makes this misinformation much worse— Nearcyan (@Nearcyan) December 21, 2020
It is not the first time that Vox has had to delete a badly-aged coronavirus-related tweet. In March, as the world started to come to grips with the severity of Covid-19, Vox removed a January post that read, “Is this going to be a deadly pandemic? No.”
Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!